Use This Learner Data to Improve CME Activities

Best learner experience for CE and CME

Providing the best learner experience is all about offering CME that learners find relevant, engaging, and valuable. In other words, you want to show them something new – something that they can actually apply in real-world working environments.

But that’s easier said than done, right?

For one thing, there can be a lot of inertia around keeping the same activities that you’ve had in your repertoire for a long time. In addition, how are you supposed to know what kind of content learners find valuable? If you’re not in a position to easily survey them or analyze participation data, there’s only so much you can really know.

In a recent EMS 1 article, paramedicine consultant Mic Gunderson calls on EMS CME providers to rethink their programs to target the precise knowledge gaps that learners may have. In the EMS world, it seems, learners of varying experience levels tend to re-learn the same information during CME activities. Over and over again.

Unfortunately, these problems aren’t limited to EMS professionals. All types of CME/CE learners (and their patients) would benefit from more relevant activity content.

And they can. That is, if providers have the right tools.

Assessments, evaluations, and outcomes surveys

Many CME and CE providers still lack a comprehensive set of tools for measuring learning. Assessments are one way to measure learning, and most all activities will include some kind of assessment.

But the assessment results need to be easily accessible so providers can identify consistent gaps in learning.

Evaluations are also great tools for determining what learners have really learned. When providers include an evaluation at the end of an activity, they can ask learners what information in the activity was most and least relevant.

But there needs to be a way to easily append such an evaluation to the end of an activity; furthermore, providers need the ability to quickly visualize the assessment results and draw conclusions.

Outcomes surveys, too, are valuable. When learners complete them, providers can get a sense of what information stuck, what didn’t, and which new skills are truly helping learners in their practices.

But outcomes surveys, like activity evaluations, need to be filled out! Providers need a way to automate the distribution of those surveys, maximize their completion among learners, and visualize the data to draw conclusions.

The solution? It’s in the LMS.

Few modern learning management systems (LMSs) are built specifically for CME and CE providers. As such, providers may struggle to collect the data they need and learn enough about their learners to design the most relevant and engaging activities.

When providers start using a CME-centric LMS, everything changes. Systems like Rievent allow administrators to create assessments, evaluations, and outcomes surveys for any activity. You can also set the outcomes survey to be sent via email on a specific date after the learner has spent some time presumably applying knowledge from the activity. By the time you publish an activity, all of this is set up and ready to go.

That’s just the data collection side of things, though. You also need a way to analyze the data to draw conclusions.

Reporting and data

Another benefit of using a CME LMS is the ability to quickly analyze data and draw conclusions.

In Rievent, administrators have access to a wealth of CME data and reports, including assessment results, evaluation responses, and outcomes survey findings. What’s more, you can break down the data according to learner type (by profession, say) to determine which kinds of learners are excelling and/or lagging behind in certain areas. You can visualize this in the aggregate or at the activity level.

So that you don’t have to comb through spreadsheet-like files where all of the important information is buried, you get graphical representations of responses, test results, and so forth. That way, you can easily pinpoint areas of strength and areas that need improvement.

These tools make it easier to design activities that are relevant, valuable, and engaging.

Instead of taking educated guesses about activity content, you can design precisely the activities that you know your learners need. This flexibility allows you to cast the widest possible net and develop new content that meets to specific needs of the greatest number of learners.

Basically, you’re helping learners learn more. They know they’re learning more, so they come to you for more CME. Patient outcomes improve, and CME becomes a relevant and valuable part of your learners’ professional lives.

Instead of a vicious cycle of inertia, limited data, and technological limitations, you experience a virtuous cycle of substantive feedback, precise CME design, and better outcomes.

It’s a better all-around learner experience. And for providers, it’s an all-around easier administrative experience.

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