IT and multimedia teams work to develop slide content in a fashion suitable for a variety of electronic formats. These include
Web sites, podcasts, CD-ROMs, customized interactive slide presentations, auto-launch programs, and animated medical illustrations.
Relying on principles of adult learning, the teams develop user interfaces that engage users and increase learning. Specific
learning objectives should be identified. Chief among these are: a change in knowledge, a change in practitioners' behavior
or skill level, and a positive change in patient health outcomes. Data from measured results can then be used to fine-tune
presentations to better serve specific audiences.
Connect Content with Learning Styles
Psychologists and learning specialists have identified a number of distinct adult learning styles, which can be best served
by customizing content development for individuals. For the purposes of medical educational events, three of these learning
styles are most relevant: the visual learning style, the verbal or aural learning style, and the kinesthetic or tactile learning
Visual learners remember best what they see and benefit most from presentations that contain a variety of visual stimuli such
as diagrams, flow charts, timelines, videos, and demonstrations. Multimedia presentations containing these educational tools
enable this type of learner to readily grasp and integrate complex information into their existing knowledge base.
Verbal or aural learners most easily absorb knowledge delivered through succinct and specific language. They respond well
to both the written and spoken word, whether as an audio presentation or as part of a video vignette. Most people, however,
exhibit characteristics of both visual and verbal learning styles and learn most effectively when information is presented
through a combination of the two.
Kinesthetic or tactile learners respond best to a hands-on approach. They thrive by doing. Medical education providers serve
these learners best by engaging them in activities that immediately put knowledge into play to reinforce retention. Inviting
participants to stand, move around the room, and interact with fellow participants can help to keep this type of learner engaged.
Dynamic tactics such as question-and-answer periods, breakout sessions where groups work on individual exercises, and the
use of physical props also appeal to this type of learner.
Learners across all types also benefit from an evaluation of what they've learned at the end of an educational event. This
not only helps to solidify knowledge but also engenders a sense of accomplishment and immediately underscores in their minds
the value of the event to their own practices.
Healthcare professionals measure the value of an educational event by the practical applications they are able to take away.
Exploring specific case studies in the form of patient vignettes that mirror the everyday clinical experience resonates with
most participants. This type of presentation of up-to-the-minute therapeutic options is preferred by the vast majority of
physicians attending noncertified medical education events.
Whatever the specific learning style or knowledge state of participants, the medical slide kit remains the cornerstone of
an effective educational event. By remaining apprised of the latest research in the area of adult learning theory as well
as the most current and engaging presentation media, education providers can continue to evolve to meet the changing needs
of discerning healthcare professionals.
Tammy Prouty is vice president, Avant Healthcare Marketing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org