The transformative learner: How are you handling CPD in 2021?

women sitting on table with cups of coffee and laptop

Presenters/Moderators: Helena Prior Filipe, MD, MMEd, and Ellen Seaback, CHCP 

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, educators across the globe had to make an abrupt switch to virtual educational strategies, and educational leaders had to lead and manage change in a world where change occurred daily. In this unsettling and changing pandemic time, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) educators need to develop a global perspective in educational strategies and lead change. 

Moderator Questions & Learner Discussion

What challenges have arisen for you and your team?

The pandemic has briskly spread a unique worldwide urgency for developing adaptive leadership skills. Kotter’s leadership model could helpfully apply. The pandemic triggered a sense of urgency for a change to keep ongoing communities of learning. Isolation, anxiety brought by lockdown and uncertainty were suddenly dominating. Learners mentioned these challenges: loss of CME office staff, cancellations of live activities, learning new technology, faculty resistance and loss of the learner face to face, in-person experience.

What strategies have you devised to overcome them? How have you adapted?

More than ever there was an urgent need for collective and innovative work through constructive, supportive and trustful relationships to maintain continuing learning environments. Digital was the keyword to keep in touch and ongoing learning.  The already consistent evidence on the benefits of technology savviness in the academic environment has grown by the various robust publications reporting successful learning experiences in night-to-day adaptions of earlier face-to-face curricula or creating them from the scratch.  All these had in common well theoretical grounded scholar teaching incorporating interactivity techniques and space for human interaction and togetherness.

Scepticism and over-enthusiasm on technology applied in educational activities had been reduced with a positive yield for the community of learning. Learning environments could be held online, with positive and effective interaction strategies learners- content and also learners -learners and faculty in a supportive human transaction. Role shifting became more real as faculty could as well learn from learners in what concerns to technology and learners’ preferences as well as by showing their vulnerability as human beings before the pandemic tsunami, they could teach others about the value of leading by embracing uncertainty, listening to the community and keep learning from each other. From safe to brave, learning environments multiplied opportunities to develop leadership skills and build collective knowledge.

Some specific strategies mentioned by learners were: CME Office staff serve as consultants to activity directors regarding the selection of learning formats, an amplified role of the moderator in synchronous virtual activities, and adapting hybrid meeting formats. 

Which from those do you intend to carry with you beyond and above the pandemic?

Looking at the pandemic beyond a huge problem and more as a source of opportunities encouraging for change, communicating this vision and positively looking at the obstacles ahead with a consistent perspective built on previous online educational good practice and experience, keeping communication channels open will hopefully allow to anchor changes in a corporate culture.  Embracing technology as a tool and vehicle that combined with scholarly teaching, constructive relationship building in supportive, rich and inclusive continuing learning spaces will most certainly be reachable for more with reduce cost, highlight the effective translation of social, constructive, connectivism learning theories into practice. Developing hybrid formats and mastering technology tools and environments to effectively teach and evaluate learning and programs declarative and procedural learning.  Highlight feedback and debriefing as critical for effective learning and creating learning environments nesting engaged and engaging communities of practice.  This pandemic has been an incubator for developing competencies in tackling complexity and uncertainty spaces and subjects and address one’s and others around vulnerabilities with kindness, with a positive individual and collective learning yield for the community of learning.

What will you leave behind?

Absolute skepticism and over-enthusiasm about online education and a realistic and scholarly approach developing ongoing teaching for scholarship using technology.  Being in absolute control and showing our back to embracing uncertainty and count on the community support and wisdom we engage with to learn and grow.


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