Participants in the Critical Skills for the New CME Paradigm workshop, held recently at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, appreciated that the workshop organizers didn’t just teach them about adult education principles—they incorporated good adult learning into every aspect of the conference. For example, there was a reflection sheet for each module, and participants were encouraged to write down a few of the most relevant things they learned in that session, and how these items relate to their professional competence as continuing medical education providers or pharmaceutical professionals involved in CME.

The session leaders encouraged interactivity through the use of an audience response system, and small group breakouts where each table of four participants had to apply the information they just learned to a real-world case study. The Q&A was a main component of all the modules, and this group of experienced participants used the Q&A to guide the learning where they most wanted it to go. The faculty, who were scattered around the room in director’s chairs rather than sitting behind a podium on the stage, encouraged the “highjacking” of the sessions, even when it sometimes made it difficult to get through all the material on schedule.

At the end of the two-day intensive workshop, participants were asked to prepare a personal learning contract, which included their most significant reflections, what they intend to do with what they learned, and a schedule to accomplish their intentions. The meeting organizers, who were given a copy of the plans, plan to follow up with each participant to see how they implement their action plans, or what barriers kept them from accomplishing what they intended if they end up not making changes. As one participant said, “Seeing these adult education principles in action made me understand what is possible with my CME activities, which still are mostly lectures. I may not be able to integrate everything into every activity, but now I really see that if these principles can work for CME providers, they can work for physicians, too.” Look for more in the July/August issue of Medical Meetings.

The workshop was jointly sponsored by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Steve Passin & Associates, and AXDEV Global/Group.