6 Practices That Make CME Ineffective

practices that make cme effective

As you prepare your CME courses, you may wonder if you’re doing things the correct way. If not, you’re failing to give your CME a chance to succeed.

Many CME programs are failing to achieve sustained learning due to outdated educational methods.

Common problems include:

  • Not effectively engaging the learner in the learning process
  • Not understanding the learner’s needs at the outset
  • Not presenting engaging content
  • Not identifying issues with learning material retention
  • Not designing CME with the learner in mind
  • Not using technology effectively

If your CME doesn’t seem to be working, here are six practices that can make CME ineffective and might just be holding you back.

1. Not Recognizing the Complexities of Adult Learning

Adult learning is complex. While many physicians learn through more informal means, like reading and consultation with colleagues, CME is the formal mode of learning for certifications and recertifications exams, MOCs, and other accredited activities. In addition, your learners are adults who have previous knowledge and already know what does and does not work in their education. Ultimately, they want learning experiences that help them achieve their goals.

You must understand the complexities of adult learning theory before you can form curricular design, teaching, and evaluation. Failure to do so can result in ineffective CME.

2. Failing to Understand That Adult Learners Have Different Ways of Learning

Before creating your CME courses, you must understand learning principles; without them, you can’t undergo any practices that make CME effective. Rather than go into your CME course creation process blindly, you should consider several areas in order to have a successful course.

First, accept that your learners have different ways of learning. Acknowledging various learning styles and objectives is critical to CME success. This was addressed in a Postgrad Medical Journal study, in which the following insights were found:

  • The learning theory for adults, andragogy, has become the standard against which CME is measured and assessed.
  • Adults are result oriented and show a great need to learn.
  • Adults are autonomous and self-directed. They want to have control over the techniques and goals within the learning process.
  • Adults bring in a great deal of life experience and knowledge. They need to be able to connect that knowledge with the learning content.
  • Adults are relevancy oriented. They are motivated to learn because their life experiences create a certain willingness to learn.
  • Adults are practical. Learning comes best when knowledge is presented in a real-life context.
  • Adults have a high motivation to learn when they can receive new information that can help them solve problems in their lives and/or work.

3. Having Issues Using Conventional CME

Issues with the conventional CME approach can be the result of expert-led lectures. Lecturing to large groups typically provides little to no opportunity for interactive or peer-to-peer learning.

Conventional CME with didactic lecture formats has been shown to be largely ineffective in improving clinician performance and patient outcomes. The traditional view is that didactic formats increase a learner’s knowledge and thus, enhance patient outcomes. However, more recent studies have suggested otherwise. These findings have stimulated the emergence of a new approach to CME that links learning to performance improvement.

4. Failing to Be Attentive of CME Design with the Learner In Mind

It’s crucial for you to design and deliver CME courses while keeping your learners in mind. The courses must be well made for learners so they will have an immediate and significant effect on learner behavior. Simply put, if you fail to embrace your learning theory knowledge and are using outdated practices that make CME ineffective, it won’t have the impact of highly engaging and interactive education.

5. Not Recognizing Learner Retention

One factor that weakens CME effectiveness is learning retention. Research shows that within one hour, learners will forget about 50% of the presented information. After twenty-four hours, they will have forgotten around 70% of the new information. After one week, retention is reduced to an average of 90% forgotten. Additional research has found that information is not retained from CME events for any significant amount of time.

Reinforcement of new learning should be an essential ingredient of your CME. Your programs should offer flexible means of learning that include interactive content, such as videos, audio, and internet-based enduring materials. Doing so will improve your learners’ different learning styles and content retention because they can learn at their own rate and in their own time.

6. Failing to Use Technology to Reach Out to Adult Learners

If you’re using an outdated LMS, you’ll have issues regarding the best ways to address your learners using practices that make CME effective. You should have an LMS that provides text, visual, and auditory learning. Doing so gives you greater outreach.

Video-based learning attracts many learners. Combining speech, text, and images helps get the point of your content across more quickly. Learners can watch a video to view a new procedure or receive training from the nearest medical facility or another suitable location. When it comes to audio, the benefit of podcasts is that your learners can listen to them at any time.

Using a web-based LMS such as EthosCE can easily provide your learners with the content that you have designed, thereby helping them achieve their specific learning goals.

Steer Away from Practices That Aren’t Making Your CME Effective

If you find your LMS leaves something to be desired and various practices are making your CME ineffective, you need to look at what you’re missing in terms of learning theories. Once you’re doing everything right in terms of theory, you will be providing your learners with the best learning experience.

At EthosCE, we understand the challenges of staying up to date and compliant with ACCME changes. We know how critical it is to get things done right the first time when it comes to team-based education and success.

To learn how EthosCE can enhance the continuing education of your healthcare teams, schedule a free 1-on-1 demo with one of our specialists today!