Schaumburg, Ill. — The nation’s largest veterinary medical association now offers its own brand of online continuing education (CE).
This month, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) launches AVMA Ed. The program features 60 online courses developed with material recorded during last summer’s annual convention in New Orleans. Two years in the making, AVMA Ed is being marketed as the “most convenient, affordable and efficient” distance learning program available to DVMs.
This isn’t AVMA’s first attempt to provide online CE — the group took a stab at distance learning in the mid-1990s before quickly abandoning its fledgling program. Yet this time, the product is sure to catch on, officials say, considering an AVMA survey reveals association-branded CE is sought after by 70 percent of members, with demand strongest among young veterinarians.
“We’re trying to be a little more contemporary,” says David Little, head of AVMA conventions. “It’s all about flexibility.”
Little points to the AVMA Ed format. Unlike live webinars, AVMA ED courses are available 24/7, he says. The classes consist of digitized audio lessons synched with Powerpoint presentations, which are split into segments. This platform allows users to pause, start and stop programs. Credits are earned after participants successfully complete a corresponding examination.
“You can’t jump forward, and the test must be passed to obtain certification,” Little explains, adding that state regulators likely will accept AVMA credits, considering it’s the same material offered during the group’s convention.
If AVMA Ed encounters resistance, the association plans to work with states to resolve any issue with the program’s acceptance. Unlike regional and state veterinary medical associations, government agencies and online communities like the Veterinary Information Network that provide online CE, AVMA Ed will not seek an endorsement from the American Association of Veterinary State Boards' Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE).
“I think that this is new enough that a lot of state boards might not have incorporated online CE into their practice acts,” Little says. “AVMA can help model those practice acts. Distance learning in out there, and it’s only going to become more prevalent.”