AAFP Credit System Launches Blended Learning CME

New Activity Type Offers More Opportunities to Earn CME Credit in Different Formats

August 18, 2017 03:46 pm Chris Crawford

On Aug. 15, the AAFP Credit System opened a new opportunity for AAFP CME credit with the launch of its new blended learning activity type.  

[Chalkboard with word cloud that includes the term Blended Learning ]

The blended learning activity type offers a hybrid of current educational activities: live, enduring materials, medical journals, point-of-care and performance improvement.

"We're very excited to celebrate this occasion since the AAFP Credit System is the first credit system to make this activity type available for CME credit," said AAFP credit system specialist Jolene Sammons.

Aaron Saguil, M.D., M.P.H., of Bethesda, Md., chairs the AAFP's Commission on Continuing Professional Development, which reviewed and approved the blended learning activity type. He told AAFP News the Academy and his commission recognized that now, more than ever, members are learning in many different ways: from traditional lectures and journals to web-based apps and social media.  

Story highlights
  • On Aug. 15, the AAFP Credit System celebrated the launch of its new "blended learning" activity type for AAFP CME credit.
  • The blended learning activity type offers a hybrid of current educational activities: live, enduring materials, medical journals, point-of-care and performance improvement.
  • Starting in January, the blended learning activity type was piloted for six months by a handful of AAFP member physicians, staff, chapter representatives and CME provider organizations.  

The idea behind this new format was to give CME providers the opportunity to blend learning from these multiple formats to create a richer and more immersive longitudinal experience, Saguil said.

"Blended learning opportunities have the potential to allow members to take a deeper dive into a topic, allowing them to reinforce their learning at multiple steps," he said. "This increases the possibility that members will take what they are learning and actually apply it to the bedside."

CME providers will be responsible for identifying and converting or modifying previous applications that may qualify as blended learning activity types. Simply repurposing content, such as a live course archived into an enduring material, will not render it eligible for this activity type.

Benefits of Blended Learning CME

Starting in January, the blended learning activity type was piloted for six months by a handful of AAFP member physicians, staff, chapter representatives and CME provider organizations.

AAFP CME program strategist Victoria Reynolds, one of the pilot participants, focused on integrating the AAFP's PerformanceNavigator workshop into the blended learning credit application.

"The blended learning application is ideal for an activity like the PerformanceNavigator workshop," she told AAFP News. "You can receive up to 107.5 AAFP prescribed credits for completing all components in the course."

The PerformanceNavigator course consists of two live workshops a year, three performance improvement modules and three medical knowledge assessment videos, as well as two knowledge self-assessment activities and access to FP Essentials online.

Reynolds said before the creation of the blended learning option, she was required to apply for credit for each component individually, and all approvals had individual numbers and dates.

"Blended learning allows applicants to apply for credit for many of these course components in one application," she said. "This means they don't have to re-enter the same information multiple times. There also is one credit expiration date as opposed to many to keep track of."

Additional Blended Learning Pilot Notes

Participants in the blended learning pilot program filled out a survey at the conclusion of their experience, which the AAFP Credit System compiled and analyzed to tweak the program as needed. One positive takeaway was that all respondents said the application process was easy to complete.

Participants appreciated saving time by applying only once for credit from multiple activities.

The AAFP Credit System plans to continue to evaluate the success of the blended learning activity type in its annual survey.

And as chair of the review commission that approved the new activity type, Saguil said he definitely wants to try a formal blended learning offering himself as he plans his CME for the next cycle.

"Ultimately, every physician needs to decide how they learn best," he said. "The blended learning CME is yet one more tool in their utility belt as they try to stay abreast of the increasingly complex lexicon of medical knowledge."

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