Hmmm. It is of course a very good question James. I don't know or perhaps can't remember the evidence base which supports the explicit drafting of educational aims and objectives, but I'm sure there are members within the group scurrying to respond with the answer.
But whatever that says about the learners, I'm not so sure I'd be so sceptical.
Amy's right in that the best we can hope for are the transmission of a limited number of concepts or nuggets of knowledge. Making those explicit at the start of a session at least means I'm trying to have session attenders start on the same page as me. Even then when the feedback form says what 3 things have you learned today, there's quite often poor individual match up with what I hoped they'd learn and what they say they did. But that's fine - I couldn't possibly know where they were in their knowledge skills and attitudes before I was parachuted in for the session, and if they stayed awake, had some fun, interacted, and learnt anything then that's great. At least I pointed them to the things I thought were relevant and / or valid.
The other benefit of writing down the objectives is that it makes me, as the speaker, explicitly stop and think about what I'm trying to do - and the act of writing it down is an evidence-based intervention supporting implementation. So whilst its a pain to do it, I know its a pain because I'm a human being and I prefer to go with what I've done before, especially if it seems to work and is quick (the cognitive miser effect). If I make myself do it, stepping back and calibrating just for a short time has been no bad thing for me in terms of how I feel about the session. I haven't measured it, but if I feel I've done a better job myself then that's a good result, at least for me. And of course, the more often I write down aims and objectives the quicker I am doing it, and the more natural and routine it becomes.
Finally, writing aims and objectives and then discussing and refining them as a group of work colleagues has been very beneficial. Perhaps I wouldn't feel great if the development had been externally imposed and I'd been doing it as a solitary activity with no feedback. Indeed, I'd have been poor at it without that help and probably given up.
I look forward to seeing in any evidence that learners benefit, but as a "teacher" I think I do a better job writing it down at the start, - so thank you colleagues on the list for making me do it - you know who you are!
Best wishes to all
Consultant Clinical Adviser, NICE.
Hon Prof of Evidence-informed decision making, Keele University.
----- Original Message -----
From: Amy Price [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 05:37 AM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Evidence for learning objectives in continuing health care education events
In my experience that is too much to expect in a 20-60 minute talk. At the
most they will remember 2-3 things (not full objectives!) and more only if
they talk about it together. They will also not know what objectives they
have picked up immediately following a presentation because they will need
to consolidate the knowledge and then make decisions about how they will
apply it to their ecosystem. That is a lot of sifting, thinking and
filtering. I think of the objectives as something the inviting group has
to submit to offer CE credits and to weed out inappropriate speakers and
those that lack focus. Your point about "where is the evidence" is
excellent if they actually expect all this in one guest presentation
On 4/16/13 11:31 PM, "McCormack, James" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>Thanks Amy. Here are the statements (see below) about the objectives from
>the accreditation boards - typically we get asked to provide 2-3 of these
>objectives. To the best of my understanding not a lot is done with the
>objectives other than they are put on our slides and in the handout. On
>occasion we have to provide one or 2 multiple choice questions.
>I could possibly understand the need for objectives if there was feedback
>etc to participants (I would like to see the evidence however) but as
>with most CE I give a 20-60 minute talk, try to be as interactive and
>engaging as possible, I answer questions and then go home.
>All programs will include written learning objectives that specify the
>learning outcomes participants can expect to achieve as a result of the
>The learning outcomes will be included in the program and promotion
>materials and clearly stated at the beginning of a program presentation.
>Step 1. Describe the information, skills, behaviors, or perspectives
>participants in the session will acquire through attendance and
>Step 2. Clearly identify the outcomes or actions participants can expect
>to demonstrate as a result of the educational experiences. See the action
>Step 3. Write the learning objectives that relate to these outcomes and
>that reflect the content of the session.
>On 2013-04-16, at 6:41 PM, healingjia Price <[log in to unmask]>
>> This is a most important question...Have you considered asking them
>>what kind of objectives they would use. If it is a conference objective
>>find out where those that choose your presentation are on this theme Ask
>>them how they would redefine or add to your objectives. What would they
>>want to apply from the presentation and then gather objectives and share
>>what others thought important. Ask them to weigh in...
>> If you are wondering why I have not shared literature on this it is
>>because when I looked because I also wanted this feedback and I didn't
>>see anything worthwhile. The better papers measured comprehension, what
>>was remembered and what they did with the information but then the stage
>>needs to be set for them to be active learners beyond the minutes you
>>are given to impact them.
>> For instance if they come in the audience (to be served) role they are
>>considering you filling them rather than what they can do with the tools
>>you provide so I find it necessary to find ways to shift this balance.
>> Amy Price
>> Empower 2 Go
>> Building Brain Potential
>> Sent from my iPad
>> On 16 Apr 2013, at 08:43 PM, "McCormack, James"
>><[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> Not sure if this question is appropriate for this list serve but maybe
>>>the answer will be interesting to some of the group.
>>> MY QUESTION
>>> Does providing participants at continuing health care educational
>>>events with a list of 2-3 objectives for each talk improve knowledge
>>>uptake or provide any measurable useful outcome? Is there is any
>>>evidence that participants even use them etc?
>>> I have had a quick look and have been unable to find any evidence but
>>>I may not be looking in the right places.
>>> 1) I give dozens of different "evidence-based" talks a year and for
>>>each one of them as part of an educational accreditation process I'm
>>>"forced" to create 2-3 learning objectives which need to be prominently
>>>displayed on my handout and presented at the beginning of my talk.
>>>While it is not a huge amount of work, when you have to do it dozens of
>>>times for different topics it is an added administrative burden
>>>especially given that I often do talks for no honourarium. However, if
>>>there was evidence that people really used them or if it improved
>>>outcomes I would have no problem doing it.
>>> 2) I recently asked 100's of participants at 2-3 conferences if any of
>>>them ever used these learning objectives and not one of them said they
>>>did. Maybe it was a biased sample but the lack of a yes response was
>>> Does anyone know of any evidence that providing objectives improves
>>>any educational experience (even in a health care curriculum) or is it
>>>purely a philosophy whose benefit is taken for granted.
>>> James McCormack, BSc(Pharm), Pharm D
>>> Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
>>> UBC, Vancouver, Canada
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