Impact of continuing professional development versus traditional continuing pharmacy education on learning behaviors
Karen J. McConnell; Thomas Delate; Carey L. Newlon
J Am Pharm Assoc (2003) 2012;52:742-752. doi:10.1331/JAPhA.2012.11080


Objective  To assess the effect of continuing professional development (CPD) on perceptions of learning behaviors compared with traditional continuing pharmacy education (CPE).

Design  Randomized controlled trial.

Setting  Kaiser Permanente Colorado (KPCO) from August 2008 to June 2009.

Participants  Licensed pharmacists employed at KPCO.

Intervention  After completing a basic CPD course, participants were randomized into a control group that continued with traditional CPE or an intervention group that completed three CPD workshops and used the CPD approach for their professional learning needs. At baseline and follow-up, all participants completed a study questionnaire on perceptions of their learning behaviors.

Main outcome measure  Comparison of responses to questionnaire items at follow-up.

Results  100 pharmacists were enrolled. The intervention (n = 44; 7 lost to follow-up) and control (n = 47; 2 lost to follow-up) groups were similar at baseline. At follow-up, a higher percentage of intervention than control participants reported changing their learning behaviors/activities sometimes (41% vs. 0%, P < 0.01) or frequently/always (18% vs. 4%, P < 0.05). More intervention than control participants responded that they frequently/always participated in learning by doing (61% vs. 36%, P < 0.05), identified specific learning objectives (93% vs. 30%, P < 0.01), and documented their learning plan (82% vs. 13%, P < 0.01). A higher percentage of intervention than control participants responded that they adhered to their learning plan partially/to a large extent (80% vs. 15%, P < 0.01) and more than three-quarters of the intervention participants responded that they partially/to a large extent achieved their learning objectives ( P < 0.01).

Conclusion  Pharmacists who adopted a CPD approach were more likely to report that various aspects of their learning behaviors improved as a result of education activities compared with pharmacists who participated in traditional CPE.

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