Adding Enduring Materials? Continuing Education Technology Eases the Transition
Do you currently provide enduring or on-demand activities to your continuing education (CE) learners? If not, you could be missing an opportunity to increase participation and enable more learners to earn continuing education credits.
In recent years, many CE providers have turned to original enduring materials (OEMs), and web-based OEMs in particular, as an alternative to more traditional activities, such as live events. Reasons include:
- Convenience: Learners can access OEMs and earn continuing education credits on their own time.
- Cost: Producing and delivering a web-based OEM often costs less than planning and coordinating an event.
- Technology: Web-based learning management systems for continuing education make it easy to deliver content to learners.
- Flexibility: OEMs offer an opportunity to re-purpose content from past live events or add recorded continuing education webinars as on-demand activities.
Let’s take a look at the steps involved in transitioning to OEMs or adding enduring content to your existing slate of continuing education activities.
Consider re-purposing live events and webinars
Ever thought about converting a recorded live event into enduring content?
Even if you’re not sitting on a treasure trove of recordings of past live events, you might be able to re-purpose upcoming live events into OEMs or deliver would-be live events as OEMs instead. You just need the right tools (more on software shortly!) and educational content that lends itself to the OEM format.
Not all live presentations will convert to OEMs. For instance, you wouldn’t re-purpose a presentation about a highly contemporary topic that won’t hold much relevance in a few months. On the other hand, many topics are timeless or will provide value to learners for many months or years to come. These are the presentations you should consider re-purposing as OEMs.
Webinars also present a fantastic opportunity to create OEMs. If your organization holds on to recorded webinars, re-purposing them as OEMs might be as simple as selecting the right delivery software and adding test questions. Speaking of test questions…
Build enduring activities to spec
Before diving into the world of OEMs, be sure you’re able to produce activities that are properly formatted for your learners.
For example, many continuing medical education (CME) providers who pursue OEMs need to create a study guide, add test questions, and score learners’ responses. Otherwise, those providers won’t be able to award AMA PRA Category 1 credit for the OEMs they produce.
Whether you’re repurposing existing content or creating new OEMs from scratch, be sure that every activity:
- Utilizes common learning file formats: Learners are viewing OEMs on their own time from their own devices, so be sure you’re offering content in formats they can access. PDF, mp4, and SCORM content integrate with most education software.
- Includes an abstract or synopsis: Before deciding whether an activity is relevant to their practice, learners need to view some kind of summary of an OEM’s content.
- Assesses learning: How will you determine whether activities are effective or whether participating learners can earn credit? Pre-tests and post-tests are usually the way to go.
Technology: The vanguard of OEM delivery
Without the right software platform, it’s difficult to make OEMs a reality. And that’s especially true if you’re going the web-based route.
The right technologies are crucial to your ability to list, publicize, and deliver OEMs, not to mention assess learning and award credit. Integrating all of those tasks – and presenting them in a format that’s easy for providers and learners to use – is an area where the Rievent Platform excels.
Consider the case of a CME provider who wants to add a recorded webinar as an OEM. The provider has the recorded webinar, but there’s still a lot to do:
- Create supplemental materials to support the content, whether in the form of a study guide or just an abstract for the activity.
- Create pre-tests and post-tests.
- Add the OEM activity to a catalog or course listing.
- Make it easy for learners to pay for access to the OEM, if needed.
- Create and distribute a post-activity evaluation.
The provider could use a hodgepodge of applications to accomplish these tasks. But it’s far more efficient to use a single platform to put this OEM in front of learners, award credit, and collect valuable feedback from participants. The learner’s CE experience will be significantly better, too.
Be sure to seek out technologies that:
- Support a variety of continuing education activities: In addition to OEMs, providers should strive to consolidate all of their CE offerings into a single management and delivery platform. And yes, that includes registration for live events and webinars!
- Collect data on learner participation: Reporting tools should offer providers a highly granular analysis of learner participation data.
- Make it easy to add OEMs: Look for straightforward activity building tools that streamline the process of publishing your OEMs.
- Make it easy for learners to access OEMs: Learners should be able to log in, remit payment for activity access, view content, take the post-test, and receive credit right as part of a single, integrated experience.
Copyright and other considerations
Keep in mind that the OEMs you create might be subject to copyright. What’s more, you’ll need to determine whether other compliance requirements govern your use of educational materials. For CME providers, this means confirming that OEMs are HIPAA-compliant before making them available to learners. Your situation could be unique and different!
The bottom line is that providers accustomed to live meetings could encounter new challenges as they explore the possibilities of OEMs. When in doubt, consult an attorney before cutting the ribbon.
Web-based enduring materials help you help learners
Professionals seeking continuing education credits are busy. They’re looking for relevant, valuable educational experiences, but they also want to access those experiences as seamlessly as possible.
Enduring materials can help you reach your busy learners. Compared to more traditional continuing professional education activities, such as live meetings, creating and delivering OEMs makes it easier for learners to fit CE into their schedules. Combined with the right technologies, you’ll also reduce administration for your staff and gain new insights from reporting tools and learner evaluations.
And if you notice increased participation after providing OEM activities, it’s because you’re meeting learners’ demand for a flexible, convenient CE experience.