Friday, July 19, 2013

Assessment in the new world of CME

I'm at a workshop at the American Academy of Neurology headquarters in Minneapolis working on an online CME activity I am creating for their Neurolearn series.  The AAN is working to create online educational tools for neurologists (although other healthcare providers are welcome to view them as well).  It's my first experience with creation of online, interactive CME.  I'll admit the interactive portions of these courses is still pretty rudimentary, but it got me thinking about how to design these courses as the learning environments become more complex.

What I've come to realize is that in the CME world of the near future, assessment is going to be huge.  If you truly want to develop the learner centered environments, you need to have very solid assessments.  The reason is that if you have a flexible learning path on a particular topic (say fall prevention which is the topic I'm working on), you need to quickly and deftly sort out the novice to expert continuum on the topic within a very brief amount of time.  If you are relegated to MCQ, you probably will have about 5, and at most 10 questions the learner will likely tolerate before you have to shunt them into their learning tract.  And if you mis-align folks and put them in the wrong tract, that will also be potentially disastrous.  I would define disaster here as the learner aborting the course before they have completed it.  A secondary disaster would be someone who is so bored or confused by the content that they complete it, but do not really pay attention to what was presented.  So, your 5 questions need to be very focused, and very strongly crafted to allow you to sort novice to expert quickly.  That will take a lot of effort to achieve that.

So, future CME creators of the world.  I'd strongly encourage you all to consider taking advanced courses on assessment before learning how to do cool stuff through web design.  Just my thought.

If you want to check out the current NeuroLearn courses which are available look here.