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Style vs. Substance: How to Stress-Test Your CME Platform

As a CME Coordinator or Director, you’re constantly looking for the latest tools to achieve better outcomes for your learners. If there’s a new LMS that claims to improve knowledge retention or a platform that promises better learner analytics then you will most likely ask for a demo. Finding new CME platforms isn’t the problem. The market is flooded with heavily promoted, hyper-stylized, yet often mediocre products that are frequently little more than duplicates of one another. An authentic CME solution is a rare find. In this post we’ll look at a few ways to tell if your CME platform could pass a stress-test, and what to do if you realize you’ve chosen the wrong provider.

Style vs. Substance: What Makes the Difference

Style isn’t all bad—it just shouldn’t be the primary selling point of a CME platform.
For example, the EthosCE LMS platform offers a great example of aesthetically pleasing instructional design. Under the hood, however, you’ll find a robust, enterprise-grade SaaS product that works out of the box. How to distinguish between style and substance? Here’s a quick list of questions to ponder as you evaluate your current or potential CME platform:

Is there a steep learning curve to overcome when I add new service features? A complicated service upgrade process will hinder your ability to create innovative educational solutions when you begin to achieve more rapid growth.

Does my CME platform offer the essential services that I need to manage and sustain growth? A platform that requires you to cobble together multiple solutions from different providers to create a workable system won’t be a viable option for you when your membership base swells.

Is it easy to customize activities components as needed, or is my ability to change the curriculum format limited to a few choices? An inflexible LMS structure can derail your efforts to build a curriculum that is tailored to the learning styles of your platform users.

Based on your answers to the above, it may be time to find a new CME solutions provider. Let’s do a platform “stress test” to make sure.

School’s Out: Will Poor Learning Experience Design Drive Your Students Away?

For busy medical professionals, nothing is more frustrating than encountering an activity that fails to engage or clearly present subject matter. They’re already motivated to complete their required credits: poor learning design can turn that enthusiasm into frustration, causing them to leave the course. Here are three important questions to ask:

  • Are learner analytics readily available so that you can make changes to your curriculum format as needed?
  • Can your LMS provider offer quick, fuss-free customization to specific modules and activities that have caused learner frustration?
  • Is it possible to customize feedback per completed active, question, or at specific milestones within a course?

If the answer is ‘no’ to any of the above then your platform may be built to fail— making it difficult for you to respond to your users diversifying needs as your membership numbers increase.

At EthosCE, we provide customizable feedback for learners based on where they are in the course, by activity, and even per assessment, question by question. Your learners will always receive the learning experiences that they need. As the requirements of your learners change, you’ll be able to adjust your curriculum and activity’s content by adding video, changing question format, or augmenting lessons with audio— to help promote knowledge retention and match a variety of learning styles.

Check Please! Will Your LMS Support System Halt Your Program’s Growth?

Let’s look at another important part of our stress test: customer service support.

You’ll find many CME providers claiming that they offer infinitely scalable structure, but the ability to scale efficiently is primarily based on the quality of the LMS support, not only with the platform’s capacity to process data. That’s because you association proving an educational service, not e-commerce, Your learners need to relieve high quality, customized edition experiences that are customized, but that also provide easily accessible, expert technical support, Why? Because unlike e-commerce and other business requiring enterprise feed platforms, your student will need quick responses to their issues and an intuitive front end—even more than other customers.

While a customer may abandon a shopping cart and then return later if your student becomes frustrated with their attempts to compete at course they may leave and not return. Completing their course on time is a compliance matter, not just a purchase—they don’t have time to waste and won’t be as forgiving of user experience issues as they would be if they were simply buying on Amazon.

Here are some questions to think about:

  • Does your LMS offer a streamlined, easy-to-navigate navigate upfront end?
  • Can users find the information that they need quickly in an FAQ, and are support services readily available during business hours?
  • Does your platform automatically troubleshoot any server issues that may slow website performance and cause learner frustration?

If you find that your platform can’t meet those basic requirements, you’re putting your CME program’s success at risk. A sudden uptick in registrations will simply amplify your current issues—or create new ones.

Who’s Time is it Anyway? Does Your CME Platform Make Compliance Monitoring a Full-Time Job?

This last stress test is perhaps the most important. Your CME platform should simply, rather than complicate, ACCME compliance. Of course, you wouldn’t purposefully purchase a CME management service that made compliance more difficult, but it is fairly common for CME Coordinators or Directors to find themselves committed to a platform that doesn’t exactly make it easier. Here are a few questions to ask to determine if your platform will help you maintain ACCME compliance over time:

  • Are key data—such as course completion rates—and learner analytics integrated seamlessly?
  • Is it simple to revert learner data and translate insights to create accurate projections for the Self Study report?
  • Does your platform automate ACCME-compliant report submissions for you, making it easier to focus on report content?
  • Does your provider keep you up-to-date on current ACCME directives, helping you to stay on track when fine-tuning your association’s compliance monitoring process?
  • Are key LSM administrative tasks—such as email reminders and course certificate management—automated, and is content simple to customize?

All of the above features—from learner analytics integration to automated activities feedback—are part of EthosCE’s enterprise-grade LMS. As a CME Coordinator or Director, your platform should help you to focus on your primary objectives— growing your CME program and providing your learners with exception leasing experiences. If you are managing your most time-consuming tasks yourself, it’s time to consider a new solutions prover. We’re here to help you make our decision. Take a look at our features and schedule a demo with us to see how we can help you meet and exceed your CME goals.

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