Here’s What 2019 Holds for Continuing Education Software
We’re now nineteen years into the 21st century, and a lot of exciting things are happening in the world of continuing education (CE) technology. Over the last several months, we’ve explored several of those developments, including:
- Increasing participation in continuing medical education (CME) activities among different types of clinicians
- How technology can help meet the expectations learners have for their CE experience
- Privacy and data security for CE software
- How automated credit reporting is making life easier for CE administrators
The list goes on! As significant as those developments were, we think 2019 will bring even more innovations that improve the CE software experience. Here are our continuing education technology predictions for the next 12 months:
1. Learners will enjoy more opportunities to obtain CME. And they’ll get it faster than ever.
When the American Medical Association recommends that learners “stockpile CME credits” by attending webinars, you know online continuing education is getting more accessible. As education providers continue to embrace online learning opportunities, they’ll create new opportunities for learners in 2019.
In particular, providers will find that the ease of building new CE activities, delivering those activities to learners, and processing participation data is so straightforward – and fast – that they have more time for high-value tasks. Namely, creating new CE activities and improving existing ones.
Of course, providers will need to have the right technologies in place. It’s hard to make CE more efficient when you’re juggling multiple types of software (one for content and one for CE, say) or if you’re still processing live event attendance with pens and paper.
Any time a provider embraces technologies that integrate all facets of the CE experience, from content to assessments to credit, their learners benefit. They’ll start to see more options for earning CE – and they’ll face fewer hurdles on the path to obtaining credit.
2. CE providers will curate activity content with greater precision.
This is already happening. We actually wrote about it way back in 2017. Going forward, more CE providers will start building activities not based on suppositions or recommendations from insiders. They’ll base activity content on data.
What kind of data? Here are a few different examples:
- Learner responses to activity evaluations
- Learner performance on CE assessments
- Participation numbers for certain kinds of CE activities
- Learners’ preferred activity formats
Sophisticated learning management technologies are making more of this data available to the administrators who manage CE activities. When you can answer questions like, “How well do my learners already understand this topic?,” and, “Did learners score particularly poorly on the assessment for this activity?,” you can start to fine-tune content in a way that best meets learners’ needs.
In 2019, more CE providers will start doing just that. You might even be one of them.
3. CE technologies will focus on the “whole experience,” not just features.
Features matter, but so does the way a platform delivers those features. For example, a CE system that offers a searchable activity catalog won’t be useful to learners if the catalog entries don’t contain descriptions. The catalog is the feature. The way entries are displayed impacts the experience.
And the learner experience matters. Just ask ACCME President and CEO, Graham McMahon. In a 2018 JAMA article co-authored with Susan Skochelak, AMA Group VP of Medical Education, the two continuing education heavyweights emphasize how effective CE activities require:
- A delivery that learners deem professional
- Relevance to a learner’s practice environment
Those qualities are related to the CE experience, not CE software features. But the most effective software platforms will account for them nonetheless.
Take Rievent Connect, the CE software we introduced in 2017 and began deploying last year. Rievent Connect has all of the same features you get with Rievent, our flagship product. However, it’s designed to work with any existing content delivery platform. That way, you can keep your content platform (if you like it) and seamlessly integrate CE into the learner experience.
Rievent Connect wasn’t strictly a feature upgrade – it was an experience upgrade for learners used to getting their CE from a particular website. We built Rievent Connect so that those learners didn’t have to slog through a separate platform just to earn CE. More CE providers will demand similar technologies in 2019.
4. CE providers and learners will demand technology that supports process and quality improvement.
Incidentally, “process and quality improvement” is the other learner expectation that McMahon and Skochelak mention in the JAMA article discussed earlier. Why stress improvement in professional practices? Because learners aren’t just getting CE to fulfill board requirements. They actually want to learn something new that they can apply in the real world.
In 2019, more CE providers will turn to technologies that help them meet that expectation. Organizations like the ACCME already emphasizes the importance of outcomes reporting. Without software capable of tracking outcomes, it’s hard to gauge the effectiveness of a given continuing education activity.
Providers don’t like not knowing, and they’ll turn to technology that helps them know.
Specifically, they’ll look for software that automates the distribution of outcomes surveys to learners. They’ll also look for tools that make it easy to interpret the results from those surveys.
Are you ready for 2019?
If you’re already embracing integrated CE software that enables a seamless learner experience, you’re probably ready for 2019! As more education providers reap the benefits of comprehensive learning management technologies, the more satisfied, informed, and competent their learners will be.
Let’s see what 2019 brings us – and how quickly the changes take place.