The ACCME has long supported self-directed learning and improvement projects in accredited CME. Learning from Teaching is a type of CME activity, designed and implemented by the learner with provider facilitation, that recognizes the learning that occurs as physicians prepare to teach. To benefit accredited providers and learners, we offer these simple approaches for applying the accreditation requirements to learning from teaching CME activities.

Meeting the Requirements
There are no special ACCME requirements for this activity type. ACCME expects that providers will ensure that accredited learning from teaching activities meet all applicable accreditation requirements. For example, providers of learning from teaching activities must demonstrate that: 

  • The learner’s professional practice gaps, and the educational needs (knowledge, competence, or performance) that underlie them, were identified (Educational Needs)  
  • The activity was designed to change competence, performance, or patient outcomes in keeping with the learner’s objectives for the activity (Designed to Change, Appropriate Formats)
  • The provider gathered data on changes (competence, performance, or patient outcomes) resulting from the activity (Analyzes Change)

The below is an example of a learning from teaching activity that meets these criteria:
My professional practice gap is that student feedback shows that my students rarely apply what I teach them about diagnosing and treating patients with low plasma calcium levels. My educational need that underlies this gap is that I do not know how to teach students to translate knowledge about calcium metabolism into practice. My learning project will include 1) a reading program about the basic physiology of calcium metabolism, 2) observation of a colleague working with residents on reviewing laboratory reports, and 3) formative feedback from a colleague who observes me teaching a group of residents on the diagnosis and treatment of hypocalcemia. The measure of the success of my learning project will be the outcome of my teaching, specifically the success of my students in diagnosing and treating patients with hypocalcemia as assessed by my program director and colleagues. This project will be a demonstration of practice-based learning and improvement

Projects Beyond Clinical Practice
Learning from teaching activities don’t need to be restricted to the learner’s clinical practice. These activities are personal, individualized learning projects that can represent a range of activities where an accredited provider can facilitate practice-based learning and improvement, which could include, for example, a learner’s professional teaching practice, clinical practice, administrative responsibilities, or research practice.

Applying the Standards for Integrity and Independence
Providers must ensure that learners engage in learning from teaching activities within a framework that meets the expectations of the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Here are some helpful tips:

  • The learner should utilize valid and evidence-based sources or resources that are not developed or controlled by ineligible companies. (Standard 1, Standard 2)
  • In most cases, learning from teaching activities are self-directed projects, where the learner controls their educational goals and reports on the resulting changes. In these circumstances, providers do not need to identify, mitigate, or disclose relevant financial relationships for the activity. If others are involved in the planning and implementation of the activity besides the learner, their financial relationships should be managed in keeping with Standard 3.
  • Because of their structure and format, it’s uncommon for learning from teaching activities to receive commercial support, or to have ancillary activities associated with them. (Standard 4, Standard 5)

Reporting Learning from Teaching Activities in PARS
When reporting learning from teaching activities in the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS), providers should aggregate data from all learners into one activity. The number of learners should equal the number of individuals who participated in the activity. The amount of credit may be reported as the maximum amount of credit a learner could earn for a learning from teaching activity. 

For example, a provider created a learning from teaching activity for 10 learners. The maximum number of credits a learner could earn over the 12-month period was 10 credits. In PARS, the provider would report this as a learning from teaching activity with 10 learners and 10 credits. 

Each learning from teaching activity should be reported for a maximum of a 12-month period. If this activity lasts longer than 12 months, it should be reported as separate activities. 

More Learning from Teaching Resources
The ACCME defines and provides examples of learning from teaching. Additionally, providers can use the Simplifying Faculty Development in Accredited CME worksheet to help learners develop learning from teaching projects that support learner needs and meet ACCME expectations.

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