230223 Use of a Learning Management System for Continuing Medical Education for Physicians in Rural and Underserved Communities

Monday, November 8, 2010

Martin Atherton, DrPH, MPH , College of Nursing and Health Science, George Mason University, Arlington, VA
New learning management systems allow participants to control content, learning sequence, pace of learning, and time, allowing them to tailor their experiences to meet their personal learning objectives. Physicians especially in rural and in underserved communities need culturally appropriate information that will help them improve patient care. A learning management tool allows physicians to engage in learning that is individualized (adaptive learning), enhancing their interaction with physician colleagues (collaborative learning).  The integration of learning management systems into continuing medical education may catalyze the shift toward applying adult learning theory, where physician experts will no longer serve as the distributors of content, but as facilitators of learning.The purpose of the project is to utilize a learning management system to help physicians in rural and underserved communities improve quality of care for a diverse group of patients.  This proposal addresses the needs of physicians by providing content and learning assessments through asynchronous experiences featuring self-assessments, focused discussions led by topical experts, self-paced learning modules, and extension of continuing medical educational credits.   The learning platform utilizes a set of specific tools such as discussion forums, resource libraries, chat/interactive functionality, personal profiles, blogging and wikis.

We will evaluate the impact of the learning management system by conducting baseline and post-test assessments of knowledge, skills, and abilities among physicians. Our methodological approach will help to establish comparative efficacy of the learning management system. Tracking and monitoring physicians' knowledge, attitudes, and skills via a learning-management system may simplify the process of evaluating the gains made through this approach.      Our approach combines assessment of skills and attitudes using e-learning technology with facilitator-mediated observation allowing evaluation of skills and behavior. By contrast, evaluating the direct result of an education program by measuring changes in learners' behaviors, institutional changes, and better patient care is often complex, time-consuming, and costly.

Learning Areas:
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Communication and informatics
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
After viewing the poster, participants will be able to  (1) Identify and explain some key benefits in using an entire learning management system  to help physicians improve patient care in rural and underserved communities (2)  Assess how can learning management systems can help physicians increase their knowledge about evidence-based medical practices. (3)  Define the elements of physician satisfaction with new e-learning technologies. These include characteristics such as perceived ease of use and access, navigation, interactivity, and user-friendly interface design.

Keywords: Physicians, Training

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Atherton is a public health epidemiologist who is an expert in program planning and evaluation and creating systems for continuing medical education for physicians and research on underserved populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.