Conundrums in Instructional Design

By Hilary Schmidt, PhD

This new column is designed to present and resolve common challenges and conundrums in CE instructional design. The Almanac readership is invited to read a scenario, consider associated questions, answer any polling questions and/or submit ideas for best-practice solutions to these instructional design “puzzles” (not to exceed 200 words). Our column editor, an expert in human learning and instructional design, will review the first 25 submissions and select one or two of the best solutions to highlight in the next issue. Expert commentary, references and resources will also be provided. The scenarios are based on real-world examples and expert analysis of the instructional designs of hundreds of CE activities and grant applications.

Challenge No. 1: The Case of Incomplete Needs Assessment

A funder receives a grant application aiming to improve physician performance in the treatment of Disease X. The needs assessment includes detailed, current, well-referenced and scientifically rigorous information on the following topics:

  1. Incidence and prevalence of Disease X
  2. The pathophysiology of the disease and its progression
  3. The evolution of the treatment paradigm and emerging therapies
  4. New Mechanisms of Action (MOAs) in development
  5. The burden of the disease on quality of life
  6. Data from a published article showing that 30 percent of U.S. patients with Disease X do not receive the standard of care, and identifying specific guideline recommendations that are frequently missed
  7. Current survey data showing that 80 percent of HCPs who attended a recent conference are interested in learning more about recent advances in Tx of Disease X

The needs assessment concludes with a statement: “There is a need to educate HCPs on the standards of care, so they can increase the number of patients who are treated according to the guidelines and improve the quality of life of patients with Disease X.”

What is the most important piece of information listed above?

Tell us here.  

What information or topics that are critical to the design of an effective educational intervention are missing from this needs assessment?

Submit your answer here.

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