Benefits of Online Learning Platforms for CME Learners

Practically overnight, COVID-19 created a sudden shutdown of traditional in-person continuing medical education (CME) programs. Fortunately, technology-based instruction and web-based video conferencing tools have served as useful and convenient ways to help learners continue their CME courses throughout the last two years and will likely continue to grow in popularity even beyond the pandemic.  

When it comes to facilitating engaging CME, virtual learning environments such as Online Learning Platforms (OLP) and  Learning Management Systems (LMS) can provide a seamless transition from in-person to virtual learning. 

An OLP is an online educational portal with self-contained tools, serving as a one-stop resource for continuing medical education. OLPs may include content modules, recorded lectures, knowledge checks, and communications between instructors and learners.  

An LMS allows users to conduct their own self-directed education of course content via a mobile app and/or website. An LMS may incorporate even more robust features designed to foster instructor/learner collaboration and facilitate file sharing amongst users.  

Both virtual learning platforms have been increasingly adapted due to the impact of the pandemic. They offer convenient course options that can be completed according to the learner’s schedule and create greater freedom of access for healthcare professionals. For the educators, these virtual platforms tend to be budget-friendly and flexible, with the built-in ability to define criteria for assessing knowledge. Many include helpful features such as smartphone integration, user forums, and integration with other commonly-used platforms. 

CMECollab, developed by Forefront Collaborative, was among the first of such platforms to pioneer medically accurate mixed reality and other experiential learning in the CME space. Countless healthcare professionals have learned more effectively thanks to its interactive content modules and self-directed exercises that prompt learners to customize case studies and learn from making clinical decisions and receiving feedback. This personalized case method enables learners to see connections between the presented teaching points and the learner’s practice, supporting knowledge application to patient care. 

Despite the challenges of the impact of COVID over the last two years, perhaps the silver lining is that traditional education systems are reevaluating and modernizing their approach to CME. CMECollab is one example of Forefront Collaborative’s approach to delivering quality medical education that’s rooted in adult learning principles and delivered in an experiential and engaging way.