Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Enlightened Education: Preventing Audience Abuse

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Enlightened Education: Preventing Audience Abuse

Article excerpt

Professionals who attend continuing medical education (CME) events are abused audiences. Long work-weeks, the pressures of running a business, CME requirements, and the overwhelming volume of information create tremendous demands on a physician's time.

These conditions demand a cutting-edge educational approach that includes unbiased information, masterful instructional design, optimized application of technology, and adult learning principles. These elements evoke the highest levels of learning, retention, and application. This approach would therefore improve physician effectiveness and patient care.


Physicians often attend CME courses that are loaded with corporate spin, lack instructional design, and utilize technology that hinders understanding rather than enhances it. Moreover, many of these courses do not teach according to adult learning principles, and the content has little relevance to clinical practice. Under these conditions, learning is reduced, retention declines, and physician efficiency and patient care suffer.

Shady dealers

Not only are many education courses ineffectively presented, but many of them also violate CME regulations. In fact, CME scrutiny is at an all-time high, because many educators don't follow the rules. For example, anecdotal experience with hundreds of physicians who deliver activities revealed alarmingly poor understanding of CME guidelines. Furthermore, corporate supporters have been discovered trying to slant the delivery of information in their favor.

Under this regime, how much do the participants learn? How much information do they retain? What are the chances that the learning would be applied to a clinical setting? Research shows that using different methods bring about different results. Consider the following table:

Ladder of Learning (1)

Methods                                    Retention

Teach Others or Immediate Use of Learning  90%
Practice by Doing                          75%
Discussion Group                           50%
Demonstration                              30%
Audio Visual                               20%
Reading                                    10%
Lecture                                     5%

Teaching tools

Complex concepts demand thoughtful instructional design, design that incorporates Gagne's nine events of instruction. …

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