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ACCME Commendation Criteria Review: Creates Individualized Learning Plans

Whether you are an accredited provider such as i3 Health or you are an educational partner working with an accredited provider, it's still important to understand the criteria that underlie continuing medical education (CME) activities. This is part of a periodic series of posts looking at what each criterion means in general and what it might mean for you.

The third set of Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) commendation criteria is focused on skills and skills-based learning. "Enhances Skills" contains 4 criteria, all of which may or may not be easily attainable depending on the organization in which you provide education.

Creates Individualized Learning Plans (formerly C31) states:

The provider creates individualized learning plans for learners.

In an ideal world, all education would be targeted to the individual learner, and each learner would only have to participate in education that is relevant to their specific practice. This criterion is focused on the attempt to achieve that ideal world. It requires an accredited program to work with individual learners to identify their practice gaps, design a curriculum to address those gaps, and track their progress. The first two steps could be very hands-on or very self-directed, but all of these steps need to occur.

There are 2 critical elements in this criterion.

  • You need to track the learner's progress in their personalized curriculum longitudinally.
  • You need to provide individualized feedback so that learners can narrow their practice gaps.

To achieve this criterion, you must have anywhere from 25 to 200 participants in individualized learning plans, depending on the size of your program. Depending on the nature your program, this may be very simple or incredibly difficult to achieve. A hospital- or medical school-based program has easy access to a single group of learners whose gaps can be easily identified through electronic health records (EHRs). A medical education company such as i3 Health may have more difficulty creating that minimum number of plans required because there is more fluidity in the learners who attend their activities.

If you are in an organization with learners who come in regular contact with your CME department, though, the value of an individualized learning plan cannot be denied. Learners are more engaged when they see how an educational activity relates to their practice. If they also play a role in designing the curriculum, they will use to address their practice gaps, we can expect them to be more engaged than if they are merely expected to show up at grand rounds each week, whether or not the topic is something they need to learn. Even if you may not be able to meet the threshold to achieve this criterion in an accreditation application, the learners who choose to participate in an individualized learning plan will benefit from the collaboration.

Other Posts in This Series CME Mission and Program Improvement Educational Planning and Evaluation Promotes Team-based Education Addresses Public Health Priorities Enhances Skills References

ACCME (2020). Accreditation Criteria. Available at: https://www.accme.org/accreditation-rules/accreditation-criteria

ACCME (2021). Creates Individualized Learning Plans. Available at: https://www.accme.org/accreditation-rules/accreditation-criteria/creates-individualized-learning-plans

Image credit: senivpetro. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0


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