Fast-growing Internet has potential to alter the nature of CME

This post courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey: From the new issue of Journal of

Continuing Education in the Health Professions:

Harden RM. A New vision for distance learning and

continuing medical education

. J

Contin Educ Health Prof

2005; 25(1):43-51.

Abstract: Increasing demands on

continuing medical education (CME) are taking place at a time of significant

developments in educational thinking and new learning technologies. Such

developments allow today's CME providers to better meet the CRISIS criteria for

effective continuing education: convenience, relevance, individualization,

self-assessment, independent learning, and a systematic approach. The

International Virtual Medical School (IVIMEDS) provides a case study that

illustrates how rapid growth of the Internet and e-learning can alter

undergraduate education and has the potential to alter the nature of CME. Key

components are a bank of reusable learning objects, a virtual practice with

virtual patients, a learning-outcomes framework, and self-assessment

instruments. Learning is facilitated by a curriculum map, guided-learning

resources, "ask-the-expert" opportunities, and collaborative or peer-to-peer

learning. The educational philosophy is "just-for-you" learning (learning

customized to the content, educational strategy, and distribution needs of the

individual physician) and "just-in-time" learning (learning resources available

to physicians when they are required). Implications of the new learning

technologies are profound. E-learning provides a bridge between the cutting edge

of education and training and outdated procedures embedded in institutions and

professional organizations. There are important implications, too, for

globalization in medical education, for multiprofessional education, and for the

continuum of education from undergraduate to postgra! duate and continuing


Lessons for Practice


criteria for effective CME (convenience, relevance, individualization,

self-assessment, independent learning, and systematic) can be met using


· Internet-based learning has a

significant role to play in CME, offering "just-for-you" and "just-in-time"


· Internet-based CME is a response to

the challenges of globalization in medical practice.

· Core elements in constructing an

e-learning program include a bank of reusable learning objects, a virtual

practice, and a set of learning outcomes and self-assessment activities.

· Learning can be facilitated using

a curriculum map

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