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The evolving landscape of medical education, part two

What are the principles guiding the development and delivery of medical education?

Medical education axon communications 

Continuing our medical education mini series, Dr Shanida Nataraja, Axon Communications, explores how med ed is being designed and delivered.

There are a number of aspects that should be kept in mind when designing and implementing medical education programmes: four key principles are listed below.

1. In order to truly benefit from training, learners must be willing to learn and understand what they need to learn.

This can be addressed by clearly defining and stating the learning objectives for any proposed educational activity from the outset. It can also be addressed by requesting feedback on what the learner believes they need to learn and weaving these objectives into the training programme.

2. The training should focus on interaction and applications wherever possible, rather than having the learners merely sitting and listening.

This means that, at live events or meetings, plenary sessions should be mixed with group discussions and case study-based practical exercises to allow learnt concepts to be applied to practical situations.

In the case of printed educational materials, practical exercises, case studies and quizzes can be used to promote retention of learnt concepts.

3. The learner has to respect the teacher. In the context of medical education, this often means that training delivered by Key Thought Leaders (KTLs) is often the most effective; it is essential that the right KTLs are identified andinvolved in designing and delivering the education.

In some cases it also means that these 'trainers' need to be 'trained' to effectively deliver the medical education.

4. The learner needs to believe that the information they are receiving is unbiased.

All medical education agencies, and their sponsoring industry partners, should always strive to maintain high ethical standards when it comes to designing and implementing medical education programmes.

There are a number of regulatory bodies that operate to ensure that all medical education is fair, balanced and non-promotional in nature; outside the US, these include the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

Oversight by these bodies is further encouragement to maintain high ethical standards under all circumstances. 

Author: Dr Shanida Nataraja is the editorial and scientific director at Axon Communications and can be contacted at

Read the first instalment here

26th September 2012

From: Marketing



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