4 Signs That Your CME Program Needs Improvement (and How to Do It)

CME learner using an LMS

The medical field is constantly changing and evolving with new technologies, practices, and innovations. As a result, healthcare professionals’ education doesn’t end once their degree is obtained.

Instead, all medical professionals need to continue their education in order to be able to provide the highest possible level of patient care, advance their careers, obtain or update professional licenses, and maintain membership in professional organizations. To do so, they need a CME program that provides for their needs and has activities that enable them to learn in interesting, engaging, and enjoyable ways.

Here, we go over four tell-tale signs that your CME program needs improvement, especially focusing on the things that are old or outdated and not reaching your learners effectively.

1. Traditional Lectures and Slideshows Are Not Effective

Research has shown that many CME programs fail to achieve sustained learning and make meaningful changes in clinical decision-making and practice behavior.

Traditional lecture-and-slide-show continuing medical education (CME) programs have been shown to be relatively ineffective. There’s an anachronistic perception of CME as dark rooms and lectures or rubber-stamped applications for credit.

The issue is that lectures are monotonous, boring, and not engaging. Learners can easily tune out. Instructor-centered lectures fail to allow learners to ask questions or debate ideas. Since lectures are based on the instructor’s topic for any given presentation, there is rarely any learner interaction, so there’s no way of telling if they are actually absorbing the information.

Lectures also don’t accommodate many learners’ needs. The specific delivery format is often set in stone and doesn’t take into account any learning needs or disabilities.

The challenge for you as a provider is to develop CME programs that are highly accessible to physicians and other healthcare professionals. An effective program created using interactive, targeted, and multifaceted techniques will result in better learning outcomes, which will extend to improved patient treatments and outcomes. Simply put, your CME programs need to be designed in a way that makes them highly engaging and interactive.

2. There’s a Lack of Understanding of Learners’ Goals and Needs and How They Learn

To know if your CME program needs improvement, you need to identify and understand your learners. There are three common issues that you should be aware of:

  • Not identifying and focusing on important learning needs of the audience
  • Not effectively engaging participants in the learning process
  • Not reinforcing new learning in a way that leads to its application in clinical practice

If these problems are present in your organization, you need to address your learners’ goals and needs and how they learn.

3. Learners Are Going Elsewhere for Their CME

If many learners are failing to complete their CME courses, this may mean your content is not engaging. Are you using only text-based content? Is the traditional lecture the primary form of instruction? If so, you must consider new ways to present your courses. Work to provide interactive CME content to keep learners engaged and returning for more.

How can this be done?

  • Make your content relevant. Be sure it provides your learners with the information that they need to master a particular task.
  • Use graphics and images within blocks of text rather than more text.
  • Use interactive content for your courses so learners can become more engaged and absorb and retain the information.
  • Create content that is quick and conveniently available anywhere and anytime.

4. Your Learning Management System (LMS) Is Outdated and Difficult to Use

If there are signs that your CME program needs improvement, you might wonder if your learning management system (LMS) is outdated and difficult to use. An older LMS can pose several challenges for learners that can send them to another provider. For example, it might have:

  • Complicated interfaces
  • Absence of functionality
  • Lack of integration with learner tools
  • Requirement to log into multiple systems to complete different tasks
  • Too many things for learners to have to do
  • Failure to offer pre- and post-test assessments or have non-existent assessments
  • Limited or no data-gathering capabilities
  • Fragmented overall experiences

New LMS platforms address the issues of old LMS ones. A web-based LMS such as EthosCE provides tools for easier CME content creation and data gathering for you, along with improved functionality for your learners.

In an older LMS system, the user interface is often difficult to follow, whether the learner is registering for a course, trying to make a payment, taking the actual course, or receiving assessments. In addition, learners may have to log in and out of different systems, which can be frustrating. EthosCE has a tabbed interface for a course catalog, calendar, and learning groups and a left-hand course progress area that enables your learners to know exactly where they are in the course. With no extra requirements, they can focus on the content at hand.

EthosCE’s data-gathering capabilities also enable you to collect more detailed information about your learners. You can determine their needs and goals and how they learn so you can plan your CME program accordingly.

EthosCE Helps Your CME Program When It Needs Improvement

Improving your CME program does not need to be difficult. Your job is to provide for your learners’ needs, discover how they learn, and give them the opportunity to reach their goals. EthosCE will help you enhance your courses so your learners can receive the best learning experiences possible.

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!