CME activities can transform learners from “reservoirs” into “rivers” as the knowledge and information gained can flow back to their colleagues and institutions
I have spent considerable time over the course of my professional life planning and implementing continuing education activities for healthcare professionals. These activities make a heavy investment time, effort and money to execute “live” activities for a relative few at national annual meetings. These activities mobilize clinical and research faculty expert leadership and presented the most current knowledge and understandings on a wide range of clinical challenges.
Association and advocacy organization national events have been a primary channel for the flow of knowledge and information essential to professional continuous development. The challenge, however, is that professionals able to afford the time and expense of attendance at this events is a very limited compared to their numbers in practice across the US and internationally. Statistics show the number of professionals attending such events is declining as a percent of membership.
These activities are “reservoirs” rather than “rivers” for the flow of knowledge and information.
The concern of continuing education providers is to see the knowledge provided in such “live” classrooms actually applied in clinical practice and to see an impact of care outcomes. The challenge is to take the new insights and knowledge “back home” and translate it into daily practice.
This is where is the idea of “teaching it forward” applies. The idea is to provide the tools and to encourage the professionals in attendance at these national events to take the activity back home and teach it to the team that can put it into practice. Be a “river” and not a “reservoir”. I think of these “live” national activities as studios that can be leveraged using information and communications technologies that can produce “tools” and resources for dramatically extending the reach and availability of new knowledge and clinical effectiveness. These range from streaming activities, video and audio logging and archiving activities, to producing slide kits and reference PDFs. The professional returning home can assemble the relevant team and simply view the activity and discuss locally its implications, or take the activity collateral and teach the new knowledge and clinical insights.
Educational psychology research supports the proposition the best way to learn is to teach. Teach it forward.