Guidelines for Evaluating a Continuing Education Program
Adapted with Permisson from the American Physical Therapy Association
Prior to Registering for a Course
Ask yourself, what are the problems and issues I face that education could help resolve? Determine your educational and professional goals and needs. Review the promotional materials and brochures, which should contain the following elements:
- Program Rationale–Is it clearly explained or just implied?
- Target Audience–Is it clearly identified? Do I fit within that target audience?
- Learning Outcomes/Behavioral Objectives–Are they stated? Do they indicate specifically what I will be able to do as a result of the program?
- Scope of Program–Are the number of learning outcomes reasonable for the length of the program? Reviewing this element may help you distinguish broad overview courses from indepth programs.
- Course Title/Program Description–Do they adequately describe program content?
- Hands‐on Program–Is there a limit to the number of participants who may attend?
- Faculty Credentials–Do stated instructor qualifications lead you to believe a meaningful program will be delivered?
- Instructional Methods—Are they described? Do they include active involvement of the audience? Laboratory or practice sessions?
- CEUs–Does the program award ASHA CEUs? Is it offered by an ASHA Approved CE Provider? What are the criteria for satisfactory completion of the course and thus the earning of CEUs? Will partial credit be awarded if I donʹt complete the entire course?
- Registration Fees–Are they reasonable when compared to similar programs? If not, inquire.
- Refund/Cancellation Policy–Is it clearly stated in the promotional materials?
- Follow‐up From Program Provider–Has the provider responded to your requests for additional information?
Consider the following components of a high‐quality continuing education program:
- Handouts–Were they appropriate? Was information current? Were bibliographic references included?
- Instructors–Did they:
- Establish rapport–and maintain the audienceʹs attention? Did they encourage questions and discussion and appear genuinely interested in the needs and concerns of participants? Did they show enthusiasm and generate curiosity? Did they provide and manage feedback appropriately?
- Provide an overview of the program–and explain how the audience would benefit?
- Seem knowledgeable and current–citing scientific sources?
- Use appropriate teaching methods–for the stated learning outcomes? Did they alternate methods to appeal to more than one learning style? Did they actively engage the audience throughout?
- Pace their presentation–allowing participants to process the content? Did they summarize and emphasize key points?
- Course Assessment Tools–Were learning outcomes achieved? Was achievement of learning outcomes based on formal or informal assessment(s)? Were participants encouraged to evaluate the program?
- Learning Environment–Did it support the physical needs of participants? Did it support learning? Did it facilitate participant interaction?
ASHA's Continuing Education Board and Program welcome feedback about the quality of programs offered by ASHA Approved CE Providers. Most ASHA Approved CE Providers encourage participants to complete evaluation forms during or after the learning activity. Information derived from these evaluations is an important component of Providers' quality improvement efforts. The next time you participate in an ASHA CE program, please take the time to share your candid, constructive feedback on the evaluation form(s) provided. Your input will benefit you and your colleagues by promoting the continued improvement of efforts. The next time you participate in an ASHA CE program, please take the time to share your candid, constructive feedback on the evaluation form(s) provided. Your input will benefit you and your colleagues by promoting the continued improvement of continuing education.