Keeping health care professionals engaged in learning activities is difficult. More continuing medical education (CME) providers are tackling low participation rates with innovative methods that incorporate the latest technology — something that you can do, too. Here are five ways to increase participation in your online CME programs.
1. Social Media
Thirty-one percent of medical professionals already use social media platforms for professional networking. CME course providers can also use this technology to improve engagement. You can post CME-related content on your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter page, for example, and encourage learners to exchange ideas and discuss topics. Alternatively, post details of live webinars and tutorials, and recommended reading lists. Social media is an effective way to increase participation in your online course because learners can access information from their mobile device wherever they are in the world.
2. Website Accessibility Tools
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, encourage course providers to make online content more accessible for people with disabilities. Improving website accessibility increases usability and encourages more people to participate in your CME program. Dividing course content into multiple sections with headings and making pages less dependent on images boosts readability, for example. There are a number of online tools that evaluate the accessibility of your Web pages, such as 508 Checker and the A11Y Compliance Platform, and many are free to use.
3. Email and Text Feedback
Regular feedback increases student participation in your course. It provides learners with constructive criticism and improves their learning outcomes. New tech has made comment and criticism just as immediate as conventional classroom-based feedback. Now you can identify a learner's areas for improvement via email or set objectives and goals via live text chat. One study illustrated the impact of feedback on e-learning. The research concluded that regular feedback supported learning and was beneficial for students with little knowledge of a subject.
Sixty-five percent of people are visual learners, according to a study from the Social Science Research Network, so more course providers have incorporated video into their online CME modules. Video lets you convey difficult medical concepts and captures the attention of your students in a way that regular text can't. Video also increases information retention. Research shows that people only remember 10 percent of the information they hear. However, they remember 65 percent of information when it accompanies a relevant image.
5. Discussion Boards
Discussion boards let CME students build their own online community. They can discuss a range of topics about your course and exchange learning materials. Countless studies have shown the impact of discussion boards on e-learning outcomes. They serve as an important learning tool and allow students to ask questions about a recent module or assessment. Online topics can also be referenced in a webinar, which could enhance discussion and result in more effective information exchange.
These five tips help you increase participation in your online CME programs so learners stay engaged from enrollment through accreditation. Using social media, improving accessibility, providing regular feedback, utilizing video and setting up a discussion board can help ensure medical professionals are involved in your online course and are more likely to complete your program.