Over the past several years, online CME/internet enduring materials have been growing in popularity. Given the increasing popularity of online CME, CME providers have placed an emphasis on satisfying this demand by creating more online CME activities. According to ACCME annual reports, from 2014-2017, the number of internet enduring materials offered by organizations that are accredited by the ACCME system and (government or military, publishing/education companies, hospitals, etc.) has increased by 29%. The chart below highlights the growth over this time period.
Since the number of materials offered to physicians has been increasing, it makes it harder to narrow down the choice for physicians. Three of the most popular types of internet enduring materials include self-assessment board reviews, audio lectures, and online videos. Below we have highlighted the pros and cons of each of these activities and the top providers for each so finding the right online CME activity for you becomes an easier decision.
Online CME Self Assessment Board Reviews
Pros of Online Self Assessment Board Reviews
Up to Date Board Review Prep
One of the biggest benefits of self-assessment board reviews is that they often do a great job of preparing physicians for their board exams. The best self-assessment board reviews are constantly updated so physicians are reviewing the most updated and relevant material in their specialty or focus area. They also strive to resemble the various ABMS board exams as closely as possible, so users are adequately prepared to pass their initial certification or recertification exam.
Online Convenience (Multiple Devices)
Many self-assessment board reviews such as Boardvitals, provide activities that are accessible on multiple online devices; laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. This makes it easy to answer questions and earn CME credits whenever and wherever you please.
Learn at Your Own Pace
Self Assessment CME activities are typically not timed events, so users can go at the pace they are most comfortable with. Medical professionals have hectic schedules so being able to learn at your own pace definitely helps to fit in earning CME credits into their schedule and less burdensome task.
Chance for Self Testing
Self-testing has been proven to have many educational benefits. Studies show that self-assessment can lead to memory improvement, contributes to the development of critical reviewing skills, and enriches learning potential in the long run. Self-assessment is one of the best ways for physicians to retain the material they are reviewing and helps them easily apply it to their practice.
High # of CME credits Offered
Many self-assessment activities offer a high number of CME credits. For example, Boardvitals’ self-assessment activities offer up to 100 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM depending on the specialty you select. The number of CME credits offered is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting a CME activity.
Cons of Online Self Assessment Board Reviews
Lack of Audio or Video Formats
Most self-assessment board review assessments do not offer audio or video formats. This can be disconcerting for those who best learn via auditory or visual methods.
Can be Time Consuming
As mentioned before, many self-assessment board review activities offer a high number of CME credits. To earn these credits, this usually requires reviewing a lot of content and answering a lot of board-style review questions. Depending on your pace and how many credits you aim to earn, this can become a time-consuming process.
Top Online Self Assesment Board Review CME Provider: BoardVitals
One of the top providers of online self-assessment board reviews is BoardVitals. Boardvitals provides online board review questions for a wide range of medical professionals and specialties.
Their questions are constantly reviewed and updated by a team of medical professionals and as previously mentioned can be accessed on multiple devices.
Online CME Audio Lectures
Pros of Online Audio Lectures
Great for Multitasking and Time Efficient
Online Audio Lectures are great for those who want to save time by multitasking as they are earning CME credits. As previously mentioned, many physicians find themselves strapped for time. Audio lectures can be easily consumed while physicians work on other tasks and this can help save a lot of time.
Easily Accessible on the Go
Another benefit of audio lectures is that they are easily accessible on the go. This allows physicians to learn and earn CME credits at the location that is most convenient for them. This is especially helpful for physicians who want to earn CME during their commute.
Best for Auditory Learners
According to inc.com, 30% of the population are auditory learners. If this applies to you, online audio lectures might be your best option to retain the information regarding your specialty and ensuring that you can apply it into your daily practice.
Cons of Audio Lectures
Difficult to Update
Given its nature, online audio lectures are difficult to update. With medical information constantly changing, this can cause audio lectures to be outdated.
Often when consuming audio lectures, it can be easy to miss valuable information, especially if you are multitasking. This can lead to the issue of constantly rewinding the material to ensure you have gathered the information most relevant to you.
Not Visually Friendly
Audio Lectures are not a great option for those who learn best from visual activities. If you are a visual learner, you may find yourself not effectively retaining the information conveyed in an online audio lecture.
Top Online Audio Lecture CME Provider: Audio Digest
Audio-Digest is one of the top providers of audio CME activities. They provide audio clinical lectures covering over 15 different medical specialties that physicians can listen to and answer follow up questions to earn CME credits.
Their product line includes board reviews, topical collections, and clinical compendia. Check out our Audio Digest product review for more information on their CME activities.
Online CME Videos
Pros of Online CME Videos
Videos are Engaging Content
Video content tends to be more engaging than traditional CME activities. Videos tend to do a great job of keeping the participant engaged, thus leading to a better understanding of the concepts that are being presented.
Approximately 65% of the population are visual learners, so videos are a great way to appeal to this audience.
Most online CME videos can be viewed on multiple online devices as long as there is a viable internet connection. This makes it easy to earn CME credits at your ideal time and place.
Easy to Digest
The best CME videos provide visual cues accompanied by commentary that make the material easy to digest and comprehend. With the information in CME often being complex, this makes it easier for physicians to fully grasp the content and start applying it to their careers.
Cons of Online CME Videos
Slow Loading Times
The experience of CME videos can be hampered if you experience slow loading times. Video functionality is heavily dependant on an internet connection, so if you are not in the right environment you may experience less than ideal loading times.
Difficult to Update
It is very difficult for CME providers to update videos after they have been published. This can lead to videos becoming outdated and irrelevant.
Difficult to Multi-Task
Online videos usually require one’s full attention when being consumed. This makes it difficult to multi-task when viewing the video to earn CME credits, and this can make it a more inconvenient process.
Can be Time Consuming
With online videos, participants are bound to the length of the video. With other activities, such as self-assessment board reviews, it is easier to go at your own pace. If the videos are long in duration, earning CME credits can become a time-consuming process.
Top Online Video CME Provider: The Doctor’s Channel
A top provider of online video CME activities is the Doctor’s Channel. The Doctor’s Channel offers free CME videos that cover a wide range of topics and specialties. The videos are quick, convenient, and make earning CME credits a less painful process.
For more information, check out our the Doctor’s Channel Product Review.