|The way we communicate as a medical and scientific community has shifted dramatically – bringing new opportunities as well as challenges when planning and delivering medical education events.
In February 2020, Bastion Brands was wrapping up work on a major medical meeting. Little did we know this would be our last in-person medical meeting for many months to come.
Cut to a year later, and everything has changed. Most flagship congresses and education meetings have either been cancelled or reworked into an online or ‘hybrid’ format.
Like taking a dive into the Matrix, reworking your education event from live to digital can seem daunting – but with the right guide, you’ll be able to navigate technology and travel issues to create online events that deliver quality educational experiences.
Here are the top three considerations if you’re planning an education event:
A major challenge of online education is engaging effectively with your virtual audience. At the start of lockdown, the fast and essential shift to virtual platforms meant many meetings transformed into a didactic series of presentations – a clear step backwards in audience engagement.
Without the ability to engage in real time, audiences can feel disconnected and disengaged from what’s going on. It’s important to not just think about the quality of information you’re delivering – also, think about how your attendees might want to engage and share their own views.
> Platforms with built-in or plug-in audience engagement functionalities such as live polling and Q&A are a great choice for boosting interactivity, and for getting feedback throughout your event
> If a patient case study hinges on several key decisions, get your audience invested by letting them vote on the choice
> Set up post-presentation break-out rooms to let attendees discuss in smaller groups what they’ve heard
Those attending your meeting will already be spending significant time on video-calls – so without appropriate user experience design, your online event can feel like just another long Zoom meeting. It’s important to find ways to elevate your meeting into something out of the ordinary:
> Consider sending something physical to attendees (before or after the event) that they can interact with and keep as a reminder of the meeting – such as a specially-designed conference pack or a reprint of a key paper to be discussed
> If the event spans multiple states and territories, and if restrictions allow, consider setting up catered satellite meetings in major centres or paying for a meal to be delivered to an attendee’s workplace
It’s all about finding little ways to get attendees invested in attending your event, and giving them something to look forward to. By making things a little special, you’ll also make your event more memorable.
Whenever you’re sharing information with healthcare professionals, do not assume they will absorb and use your material just because it’s new to them.
We need to be actively planning education in a way that maximises understanding and retention, and which ultimately leads to real behaviour change. This is particularly true of accredited education, which can have stringent requirements for how information is delivered and assessed.
Active participation and audience feedback is much more challenging to achieve in a virtual setting – but with careful planning, you can achieve the same results as a live event.
At Bastion Med Ed, our medical expertise and educational experience combined with a passion for digital make us the perfect partner to bring your education initiative to life.
To find out how we can help you elevate medical education in 2021, reach out to: