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The McMaster University, Continuing Health Sciences Education Program has recently updated their CHSE Guidebook for Designing CPD Activities. This 110 page booklet is now available for download on their website.

The Continuing Health Sciences Education (CHSE) Program within the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) has a mandate to support schools, departments, programs and faculty members within the FHS in the design of engaging and effective CHSE activities. Our mission is to provide exceptional continuing professional development opportunities for healthcare professionals.

CHSE is defined as the education of healthcare professionals following completion of formal training. CHSE activities consist of any educational activity, which serves to maintain, develop or increase knowledge, skills, competency or performance. The goal is to provide better services for patients, the public and the profession. For our program, the term CHSE encompasses continuing professional development (CPD), Continuing education (CE), Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Interprofessional education (IPE).

The CHSE Guidebook for designing educational activities, was designed to be an approachable process with educational theory embedded within it. The overall intention is to empower health professionals to create educational activities that meet the standards, follow educational theory, are learner-centered and ensure that the learning outcomes intended are supported by the activity’s design. To do this we use Bigg’s1 Constructive alignment.

“Constructive” in the context of education, refers to a paradigm of learning called constructivism. In constructivism learning is viewed to occur through the learner actively constructing meaningful experiences. This is important in continuing education because quality learning means learners finding relevance in the CPD activities in relation to their practice.

“Alignment” refers to the high degree of structural consistency across the three major aspects of curriculum. These include the intended learning objectives, the teaching and learning activities, and the feedback and assessment methods. A constructive alignment approach to designing CPD activities is key to creating a learner-centric curriculum. This provides rich learning opportunities and helps the learner to achieve the intended learning outcomes. Constructive alignment is also a design approach that works to ensure the development of learning outcomes, which is important in competency-based education.

CPD that uses constructive alignment as a core design principle facilitates a learning objective driven design. It also encourages a decision-making process that continually asks the designer, how can we align what we do in the curriculum with the learning objectives and will there be evidence to support that the alignment is achieved in our design? In our guidebook, we provide a brief theoretical background of constructive alignment, methods to assess learning needs, and how to turn the needs into a solution by translating them into learning objectives. The Guidebook also includes constructive alignment checks. These checks are prompts to help applicants consider, to what degree have they achieved constructive alignment at each stage of the design process.

The CHSE Program has expert faculty and staff that can help you transform your ideas into effective educational offerings. The CHSE program provides educational consultation to members of the FHS. We also recommend that you consult your CHSE Program representative and/or our staff and faculty in the process of planning, developing and delivering CHSE activities.

We look forward to working with you.

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