CME providers need to look at how they select, train, use, and evaluate faculty to ensure what they’re providing is in fact education.
A recent Twitter #CMEChat session led by
@CMEAdvocate (you may know him as ’ columnist Brian McGowan, PhD) really got me thinking about how we select, train, use, and evaluate . It also got me thinking about the faculty that we all encounter as part of our own continuing professional development as CME providers.
I recently created the #goodeducator hashtag on Twitter to further explore the topic. For example, I tweeted that a #goodeducator:
• knows how to meet the same learning objectives differently for different audiences. Each journey is its own adventure.
• often teaches when not in a teaching
• can take a topic that has been covered ad
nauseum, make it memorable, and facilitate
• has a combination of training, education,
experience, and common sense. Proportions of each may vary.
• must be like a reporter, and consider the who, what, where, when, why, and how.
• takes the time to understand the needs of his/her learners.
Clearly, many of these observations and comments were the fruit of experiences that I have had with the plethora of educators (and yes, pseudo-educators) I have encountered through my educational years and professional life. Instead of also creating a #badeducator hashtag, I flipped negative to positive by finding the opposite of the bad bits and tweeting those to #goodeducator.
Time Crunch and Training
How many of us take the time to evaluate the faculty members we use in our CME activities? I’d guess we don’t do this as often as we should. And, as we discussed during the #CMEChat, how many of us take the time to train our faculty to be better educators? We often face a situation where faculty members are selected because of their knowledge and experience in a therapeutic area, topic, or specialty. Unfortunately, while they may have the knowledge, they may not possess the qualities that will allow them to be good educators. And you know that they themselves either don’t know or don’t want to acknowledge that this may be the case. So they talk about the topic to the learners, but don’t actually
provide any education.
If CME is to advance as a profession—and if we are the stakeholders in the CME continuum responsible for the quality and impact of the education that is delivered—then it is imperative that we take the role of developing faculty into educators seriously, and that we do it in an appropriate manner.
Learn From Others
When I travel outside the U.S., I see systems where there are far more structured programs to train physicians and nonphysicians about the art and science of medical education. There are medical education fellowships, structured curricula, academic conferences that specifically address the science behind medical education (throughout the lifelong learning continuum). I don’t know whether these formally trained medical educationalists are leading CME faculty development sessions, but I know that they are certainly prepared to do so. I’d love to do a study comparing the approaches to, and outcomes from, CME and CPD in places where there are formalized medical education training programs. It would also be interesting to get these folks involved in our medical education conferences, or have a true conference on medical education with an emphasis on CME and CPD. The theme, of course, would be “Making Good CME Educators in CME a Global Reality.”
What do you think makes a good educator? If you use Twitter, tweet me @meducate and use the #goodeducator hashtag. If you don’t use Twitter, send me an e-mail and I will tweet your response (remember the 140-character limit, please). And if you have examples of good educators, please provide links! Remember, good education starts with good educators, and you have a role in their development.
Lawrence Sherman, FACME, CCMEP, is senior vice president, educational strategy, with Prova Education, an affiliate of Omnia Education, Fort Washington, Pa. He is a frequent lecturer on topics related to the strategic development, dissemination, and evaluation of CME activities. Reach him at LS@provaeducation.com.
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