How to Deliver a Learner-Driven CME Experience
Learners care about how they get their CME. Thanks to the proliferation of online CME activities, there are also more ways for them to obtain CME than ever before – and that’s a good thing.
But with all good (and new) things come new challenges. As CME live meeting attendance declines and more professionals turn to the web for education, providers are searching for the best way to cater to today’s generation of learners. There are different ways to do that, but providers want learners to lead the way.
The industry gold standard? A learner-driven CME experience.
One size fits some, but not all.
To start delivering the most ideal online CME experience possible, it’s tempting to ask, “What’s the best experience for CME learners?” That’s not a bad approach, but it’s not the best one either. A more thoughtful question might be, “What’s the best experience for our CME learners?”
That’s because every provider is different. Your content is different. Your approach to CME is different. Your assessments are different… Needless to say, your learners are different, too.
Ultimately, you should provide an online experience that accommodates your learners’ unique demands. Here’s a step-by-step process for understanding those demands and acting on them.
1. Perform an honest qualitative assessment of your existing CME platform.
“Honest” is the key term here. It’s comforting to believe that your CME platform serves your learners’ every need, but does it? Consider whether you:
- Require learners to use multiple online platforms or applications, like a website for reading articles and a different app for CME activities.
- Still have learners complete tasks offline, such as requesting certificates or transcripts
- Make it easy for learners to view available activities via a catalog or other intuitive listing interface
- Enable learners to manage their own CME experience, from selecting activities to taking post-tests to requesting credit
These questions are starting points, but you get the idea. If there’s something you could do to make the experience easier for learners, it’s time to act.
2. Take note of what’s working well.
As you perform a qualitative assessment of your CME system, also be on the lookout for what’s good about it. Even if you transition to something that’s better for learners overall, you can keep the parts that already serve them well.
In other words, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
For example, maybe you have already invested in a CME content experience that learners love. It’s clean, fast, and intuitive. Learners can get in, access the content they need, and log out without issue. They like it, and you like it. The problem is that other aspects of your online CME aren’t ideal. What should you do?
Look for tools that let you preserve that great content interface while fixing the aspects of your CME that aren’t exactly perfect. Rievent Connect is one way to do this. The tool adds CME activities to your existing content, so learners can complete post-tests, evaluations, and claim credit without navigating to another application.
If you choose to go this route, just be sure you’re not sacrificing some other big aspect of the CME experience – the ability to quickly browse a catalog for activities, say – for the sake of preserving whatever it is you like about the existing system. There are more comprehensive platforms that can solve all of your CME interface problems. They’re probably a better choice.
3. Got learner feedback? Use it.
You’ve probably collected post-activity evaluations for years. If you’ve ever used those forms to ask learners about their perception of their CME experience, it’s time to analyze that data for insights.
And if you haven’t asked questions about the experience, now might be the time to start.
Potentially valuable learner insights include:
- Whether they find your CME software easy or difficult to use
- Levels of satisfaction with your content experience
- The ease with which they select, begin, and complete activities – is it a breeze, or is it a hassle?
- The extent to which some aspects of the experience are easier (or more difficult) than others
Evaluation responses aside, is there other data you’ve collected from learners? Maybe you’ve surveyed them on the pre-activity process (logging in, viewing activity listings, etc.) and the post-activity process (claiming credit, accessing transcripts, receiving certificates). Even anecdotal learner feedback can be valuable, especially if it’s consistent.
4. Make control a top priority.
By “control,” we mean learner control.
If your current system forces a lot of back-and-forth between learners and CME administrators, look for opportunities to transition your administrative efforts to learners. Believe it or not, they’ll actually enjoy the “extra work.”
Examples of learner self-service opportunities include downloadable CME certificates and transcripts, password requests, access to test scores and participation history, automatic credit requests, and simple registration for events. Make it easy for learners to complete these tasks themselves so that you don’t have to.
In reality, it’s not extra work for learners at all. When it’s easy for them to do these things themselves, there are no waiting periods, no email requests to deal with, and no phone calls to your office. It’s just simple. And your learners are empowered because you’ve handed them more control.
A learner-driven CME experience gives you control, too.
Letting learners call the shots is smart business. Instead of maintaining manual administrative practices and fielding learner requests, you can transition those exercises to the online sphere.
As more CME goes online, so, too, can more of your time-consuming tasks. You gain time to focus on activity design, analyze learner data for helpful insights, and grow your organization. A better online learner experience, it turns out, is also a more efficient experience for administrators.
In other words, learner-driven CME makes you a more effective provider.