Friday, 11 March 2016

 How to design for study skills course for continuing professional development (CPD) in surgery

CPD is one of the hallmarks of being a professional and part of the continuing of learning in lifelong learning of a doctor. To be able to sift through the volume of information overload in medicine and maintain a level of excellence and mastery in our knowledge and skills the doctor needs to be an effective learner.
Harden described ten issues needing to be considered in formulating a course or programme of learning. His strategies for such a curriculum are: 
  1. needs in relation to the product of a training programme 
  2. aims and objectives 
  3. content 
  4. organisation of the content 
  5. educational strategies 
  6. teaching methods 
  7. assessment 
  8. curriculum details communicated to others 
  9. educational climate 
  10. management of the whole process 
As this is part of a Continuing Medical Education, I will also use the CRISIS model to help in the design of this CME program for doctors. It stands for:-


Needs In Relation To 1 week Study Skill course
 To be effective learners so that doctors can maintain their level of competencies and to excel in their practice they need to have the skills to be self-directed learners. With the legislation of credentialing and accreditation they have to show evidence that they are lifelong learners.
Aims and Objectives 
The primary aim of this one week course is to equip doctors with the knowledge and skills to be lifelong effective learners so that they can maintain their competencies to practice safely and with high performance.
At the end of the course the doctors will have sufficient knowledge and skills to be able to:-
·       utilise resources efficiently to support their learning
·       use technology effectively to manage and use information effectively
·       to have deep understanding and mastery of relevant generic and transferable knowledge and skills

Content and Organisation Of The Content 

The proposed timetable for the content to be delivered is as follows:-

Understanding learning and teaching styles (workshop)
Managing paper – Document Management systems.
Index and archiving documents

Using database
Internet research
Writing for doctors

Working in teams
Communicating ideas
Public speaking and presentation
Clinical leadership
Maintaining Quality in practice
Resource Management for learning-Time, money and people
Imaging for medicine – still and videos
Research and Audit methodologies
Instructional design of teaching materials
Using E learning tools
Management in Medicine
Lifelong Learning
Podcast/Video cast project
Designing a database
Producing a learning module
Post Course elective assignment

Educational Strategies 
The course would be delivered in a doctor centric fashion and looking and meeting the needs of the doctors in maintaining lifelong learning. It will use real life problems and scenarios as trigger to discuss the educational theories and methods to overcome and solve these problems. It will integrate the basic knowledge of learning with real life demands of the doctors and the assignments allow for its application immediately. There will be elective components in the assignments to make it relevant and interesting for the participants. The organisation of the content has been systematic and sequential to allow for deep understanding of the material and applicable to the individual needs of the candidates.
Teaching Methods 
As some of material is skills in IT and dynamic group activities, it is best delivered through a workshop. However to keep cost down and for effective use of resources, all the resource material can be made available via an on line course management system like Moodle. Thus candidates can access material on demand and allow for self-paced learning at their convenience. As there is sufficient material to make it interesting for them to use the resources and be engaged in it. This will help in getting this course to more candidates via distance learning.
Most of the material will use real life examples to illustrate and apply the theories about learning.
There will be numerous opportunities for self-assessment with immediate feedback incorporated in the program. During the workshops as it will be interactive, it allows for immediate feedback and meaningful learning.
To ensure deep understanding of the material, each day will have an assignment which can be a project or written on so that the candidates grasp of the knowledge can be assessed. All the assessment will be formative and there will be no summative assessments.
Curriculum Details Communicated To Others 
The faculty will be drawn from a variety of professions and thus the curriculum will be delivered to them via the Moodle site. Registered candidates will also have access to this via the Moodle website. This will reduce the cost if running this program and allows for convenience and speed of communication. The faculty members can easily make changes to the content and inform others using the same Moodle platform.
Educational Climate 
As the whole program caters for self-paced and on demand acquisition of some of the knowledge, it allows for a safe and comfortable climate to learn these knowledge base.  As the workshop will be very much hand on and interactive, this will also be non-threating and as there are no summative assessments the pressure of assessments will not be a source of tension for the candidates.
Management Of The Whole Process 
Using the Moodle platform will simply the whole management process as it has tools to manage the whole program automatically. From the registration of participants to creating modules and content development and setting of self-assessment MCQ and hosting any eLearning tool, are built into the system with opportunity for uploading of assignments by the candidates remotely. It can also issue pre designed certificates on satisfactory completion of the program.

Harden RM (1986) Ten questions to ask when planning a course or curriculum. Medical Education. 20: 356–65. 
Harden RMLaidlaw JM. Effective continuing education: the CRISIS criteria.Med Educ. 1992

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