I read a blog post recently called, “3 Scientific Breakthroughs Plagued by Uncoolness,” written by Janice Boughton, MD. She posited that we are more likely to ignore information that is un-cool, and used some (at least what I thought were) fascinating examples of important, but uncool, medical breakthroughs that no one has heard of.

 

That started me thinking about the challenge that continuing education professionals face when developing content for CE programs. Specifically, I’m thinking about CE for the millions of professionals who need ongoing education to maintain certification or licensure (although it could apply to any educator).  Professional CE can be pretty uncool compared to YouTube videos of bungee jumpers or crowds of ordinary-looking people breaking into song. Granted, watching someone’s toddler play with an iPhone or following Justin Timberlake’s Tweets, won’t further your career, but this is the visual- overload universe  that continuing education lives in.

 

Maybe even more important is the speed at which terabytes of data fly around and the sheer volume of information available to us in a single web search. There is, of course, a downside to all this instant “knowledge.” Overload, for one thing. There’s also an opportunity–to get to the real substance.

 

All of the CE providers we work with deliver a good portion of their educational content online. So that’s one big twenty-first century checkbox taken care of. Some have found very clever ways to get information across—using entertainment as the wrapper (participants seem to enjoy it, as long as it complements the educational content). But a big reason why the successful CE providers are successful is because they offer CE participants–doctors, lawyers, CPAs, bankers, etc– exactly the substance they need to do their jobs, and they make it easy for them to find it and engage in it. Online CE may not be dancing puppies, but I’d say it’s pretty cool.