Registrants of Academy continuing medical education courses are becoming active participants in their own education. They can participate in roundtable discussions, present a patient case history or spend time with faculty members to ask specific questions.
In April, the Academy held "The Shoulder 1997: A Comprehensive Guide for Mainstream and Controversial Issues"-one of the first courses to focus on these "interactive" teaching methodologies.
Roundtable discussions on specific shoulder problem areas were conducted every day. Faculty and participants tackled a series of case histories where all aspects of a case from diagnosis to treatment were discussed in an interactive format. The course also included small breakout sessions where registrants presented a patient case history from their practice.
"The April course was a good, first step in getting registrants involved in the learning process," said course co-chairman Joseph P. Iannotti, MD, PhD. "Hopefully, it serves as a guide for future Academy continuing medical education course offerings."
"Using actual case studies throughout the course makes the discussion more lively, and certainly encourages participation," said course co-chairman Edward V. Craig, MD.
The positive responses from the registrants indicated that they enjoyed the course's interactive sessions.
Scott E. Cameron, MD, of Marshfield, Wis., believes the breakout sessions allowed people to feel more comfortable when discussing cases or asking questions. "I have attended some courses where you are standing with a microphone asking a question in a very large room of 300 people," he said. "To me, small group discussions are a more effective way to learn."
Richard M. Linn, MD, of Plantation, Fla., also appreciated the format of the breakout sessions. "A small group setting is more conducive to learning," he said. "The discussion is more focused, and does not go off on any tangents."
After presenting a patient case history during the course, Stephen C. McNeil, MD, of Stoughton, Mass., went home with some extra advice. "I already had scheduled the patient for surgery upon returning home," Dr. McNeil said. "But, after presenting her history, I received some extra reassurance that my treatment course was correct."
Another continuing medical education course sponsored by the Academy in May, "From the Elbow to the Hand: A Current, Practical Approach to Problem Solving," also included elements of the Academy's new educational approach.
The May course had faculty start their didactic presentations with a patient case history followed by a comprehensive discussion of the topic.
In evaluation forms completed after the course, many registrants indicated that it was a success. One attendee commented, "I think using a case study as introduction gets the mind focused on the problem from the start." Another registrant said, "I was very pleased by the practical nature of the course. It dealt with the questions and issues I face every day in my practice."
The change to offering more interactive teaching methodologies began two years ago when the Committee on Educational Programming met to discuss the future goals and objectives of the Academy's continuing medical education program. At that meeting, committee members decided courses should start including new teaching methods that would enhance the learning process by increasing interaction between registrants and faculty.
The Academy plans to continue incorporating more interactive sessions in its continuing medical education courses. Right now, all course registration forms provide space where registrants can indicate specific problems they face in their clinical practices that they would like addressed at the course. A course scheduled for Nov. 14-16, "Revision Hip Surgery: An Advanced Surgical Skills Course," will have two live satellite transmissions of actual patient surgeries. An audio link will be set up so that participants can ask faculty members questions during the actual surgery.
James Emanuel, MD, left, and Richard M. Linn, MD, discuss a patient case history during a roundtable discussion at "The Shoulder 1997:A Comprehensive Guide for Mainstream and Controversial Issues."
Faculty member Evan L. Flatow, MD, right, leads a discussion at a breakout session durint the "The Shoulder 1997:A Comprehensive Guide for Mainstream and Controversial Issues."