Oh, Mann!

Unbeknowst to me, Anne Taylor-Vaisey also was at the CME Congress 2004 in Toronto (I wish I'd known her then--we could have had a blast!). From a message she sent to her Yahoo Group, she also was blown away by Karen Mann's presentation. I only was able to touch on it in my writeup of the meeting. Fortunately, it's now available online, along with some other writeups from the Congress, in a special supplement of the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions.

Thanks to Anne, here's the abstract:

Mann KV. The role of educational theory in continuing medical education: has it helped us? J Contin Educ Health Prof 2004; 24(Suppl 1):S22-S30.

Abstract: Despite the existence of many approaches to understanding learning and change and attempts to incorporate these into continuing education research and practice, the search continues for a comprehensive understanding of how learning is engendered in professional practice and the processes by which learning and change occur.

This article considers four broad questions in relation to the practice of continuing education:

(1) What can be expected of theory?

(2) How does theory relate to the educational practice of those in continuing education and the goals of continuing medical education?

(3) How! have practice and theory mutually informed our current understandings?

(4) How can theory serve the field more effectively in the future? Broad orientations to understanding learning provide a framework for examining the contributions of theory and practice. The orientations include behaviorists, cognitivist, social learning, humanist, and constructivist; for each, an example is presented. Newer understandings also are introduced. The article concludes by considering reasons as to why theory appears not to have served us better by offering ways in which those in continuing education can ensure greater usefulness of theory while contributing to its continued development.

Lessons for Practice

· Theory and practice are integrally related and mutually inform each other.

· Theory provides important frameworks for understanding and addressing the problems of practice. In turn, practice serves to inform and revise theory.

· Theory can serve the field better if it is systematically applied and made explicit.

· Theory can assist in the planning, implementation, and analysis of continuing education programs.

· Through sharing knowledge and building new understandings, practitioners inform and refine theory.

Journal Web site

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