How to Choose Online Learning Technology For Continuing Medical Education Programs

Emily McLaughlin
May 5, 2017 12:01:00 PM

Continuing education programs play a key role in ensuring that professionals are qualified to maintain licenses in their profession. This type of professional learning is extremely critical in the medical industry.

Continuing medical education (CME) programs consist of educational experiences which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and performance of medical professionals. These professionals use skills obtained from CME programs to provide services for patients or contribute resources to their field.

By using learning technology to deliver this type of professional learning versus in-person training, accrediting bodies are able to reach more learners -- regardless of location or language. This type of learning environment also makes the certification and recertification process easier for learners by limiting the need for travel and enabling self-paced learning.

Improve CME Program Outcomes

To continuously improve the quality of CME activities, medical educators are becoming increasingly focused on measuring outcomes -- specifically learner outcomes related to engagement, performance and course completion. To meet and measure these important outcomes, CMEs are in a prime position to take advantage of cloud-based learning technology.

Below you will learn how online learning technology can help continuing medical education organizations improve key outcome metrics.

Benefits of Modern Online Learning Technology

Developing an online continuing medical education program enables organizations to spend less time working as an admin, and more time reaching learners, tracking learner progress, and providing feedback to learners in a way that’s not possible with in-person learning experiences.

Some technical requirements to consider when investing in learning technology for online medical education programs are administrative tools, analytics tools, forced linear progression capabilities and timed education.

  • Administrative features: Implement a learning technology that allows CME program admins to spend less time managing administrative duties and more time analyzing learner statistics.
  • Analytics: One of the most valuable aspects of using learning technology for continuing education is the ability to generate and download reports on a variety of learner-related metrics. Seek out learning technology that presents enrollment, engagement, completion, and monetization statistics to help make decisions about creating or modifying continuing education course content. On the non-admin side, consider technology that puts data in the learner’s hands by allowing them to track course progression and completion on their end.
  • quiz or test -- before moving to the next lesson. The Thought Industries Platform enables course administrators to turn on linear progress at the course level. If enabled, learners will not be able to skip ahead in courses which help CME organizations better understand where the learner is having trouble learning, or what learning content might require a refresh.
  • Timed education: Timed education tools like quizzes and tests help CME organizations understand how well medical professionals are absorbing the learning content. It also ensures that the learning is prioritized and taken seriously -- a critical aspect of learning in the medical industry.
  • Compliance: Compliance is important in the medical industry. Learning technology that values and supports compliance needs is critical.

Content-Related Benefits That Boost Learner Outcomes

Continuing medical education programs are utilized to ensure medical professionals have the knowledge and skills they need to perform on the job. At the end of most continuing education courses, learners receive a certificate to prove they possess necessary knowledge.

Before they get there, they have to make their way through the course content. In order to make sure information is absorbed and retained, CME’s must create engaging learning experiences. Here are some content-related features to look for in learning technology

  • Visual: flip cards, video, live webinar integration, slideshows with narration, and highlight zones to create a more visually appealing experience.
  • Engaging: Many online learning platforms offer analytics features to help measure engagement, but lack creative, engaging content types for learners. Choose technology with content types like tests, quizzes, post-course surveys and other learning content that encourages some level of interaction (e.g. flip cards, highlight zones, etc.).  
  • Mobile: Also, make sure the learning technology enables the online continuing medical education program to be mobile-friendly.

If you are in the market for new learning technology in the continuing medical education field, look for the key technological and content creation features above. The right admin, analytics and timed features, paired with visual and engaging content types, will help your CME deliver great learning experiences to medical professionals.

The Thought Industries Platform supports online continuing medical education organizations and other professional learning organizations by providing advanced technology and creative, visual content types. To learn more about the platform, request a demo today.

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