Following a successful continuing medical education (CME) activity, thoughts invariably turn to the next educational offering. How can you ensure the quality and success of the next meeting or online activity? How can you improve upon previous offerings? One of the best strategies to find direction for the future is to consult the voices of those involved in the past—the faculty involved in previous activities, and the learners who participated.
Expert faculty are an essential part of a quality CME activity, providing expert insight during the development of an activity and increasing the value of the final product. The essential role of thought leaders in planning and executing an educational activity does not end once the activity has concluded, however. Because of their unique perspective as both activity planners and experts in a field, they can provide valuable feedback on the activity in terms of both the final product and future educational needs. These experts can note areas where the activity succeeded or failed in its objective, topics that require further education, and strategies to improve the overall quality and execution of future activities.
Beyond the experts, physician learners represent another important voice to consider when evaluating the success of an activity and planning for future education. The learners who participated in an educational activity can provide the best picture of the strengths and weaknesses of an activity, suggest methods to improve education, and identify future educational needs. Incorporating the voice of the learner into development of future educational activities can provide much needed perspective from the audience in terms of what topics are of interest, which formats they most enjoy, and common pitfalls that can detract from the educational experience.
When designing CME activities, it is important to carefully consider what has come before. The experts involved in previous activities and the audiences that participated in these activities are invaluable resources that can and should be used to provide direction for the future.