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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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Key Takeaway-Strategy Fragmentation

When Association Laboratory works with clients on professional development and continuing education strategy, we frequently find that one of their key problems is strategy fragmentation. The clients don't fully account for how the different parts of the CE puzzle fit together.

Philip Puckorius, Vice President, leads professional development and continuing education strategy engagements. He developed an innovative continuing education strategy cycle that helps associations diagnose their strategy challenges more effectively. It consists of 3 phases: 1. Needs assessment and opportunity identification; 2. Planning and continuing education programming; and 3. Evaluations and outcomes measurement.

The following summarizes these 3 phases.

Cycle Phase I: Needs Assessment and Opportunity Identification

The first critical step in the cycle is to assess the needs of your primary audiences. Most effective is a line of inquiry about what members of the audience/market perceive as being the "Skill Set" that they most need to master or acquire in order to advance their performance to the next level.

Addressing what someone needs to be able to "DO" involves all three domains of learning. Beyond acquiring knowledge, the "Skill Set" line of inquiry alludes to the Attitudinal (adoption of behavior) and Psychomotor (being able to apply knowledge) elements of continuing education that relate to higher level outcomes of changes in behavior and results in performance.

Cycle Phase II: Planning and Continuing Education Programming

The second phase involves using the needs and opportunity assessment to guide the development of a continuing education plan. This plan involves the analysis of the needs assessment data, formulation of learning outcomes objectives, and the development of content, instructional and learner development strategies.

Many people can tell you what they need to be able to DO next, but are hard pressed to articulate what they have to KNOW in order to accomplish that goal.

If they were aware of what they had to learn, they could manage the learning process on their own. It is arguable that once "Skill Set" goals are identified, it is the role of the education planner to then determine what key competencies comprise the critical components of that given skill set, select the appropriate learning strategies and then implement appropriate instructional design.

Cycle Phase III: Evaluations and Outcomes Measurement Evaluations and Outcomes Measurement Processes

The third phase is evaluation and outcomes measurement. Effective measurement of outcomes not only measures learning; it assesses effectiveness of education through measurement of changes in behavior and performance.

Organizations need to define evaluation goals, criteria, and measurement protocols. The quality of collected evaluation data needs to be established. Once staff is comfortable with these aspects, it is important to develop short-, mid-, and long-term outcomes measures.

It is the measurement of changes in behavior and performance that lead back into Phase I (Needs Assessment) of the continuing education cycle:

  • If behaviors and performance changed, what's next?
  • If behaviors and performance didn't change, what remediation or alteration in curriculum or other strategies is needed?

This facilitates an ongoing process of evaluation, modification, and improvement as an internal continuing education business process.

Using This Information

Association Laboratory suggests the following:

First, review each stage in the cycle and identify the missing points in each area for the association.

Second, review the processes by which the organization develops, implements, and connects each stage.

Third, lead a discussion with education, marketing, and delivery staff on how to add critical aspects of each stage and how to improve the connection between stages.

Other Resources on Professional Development, Continuing Education, and Training

You can find additional resources on these issues at each of the following associations.

Alliance for Continuing Education in Health Professions



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