AVMA terminates online CE venture

AVMA Ed to close by Dec. 31

April 22, 2011 (published)
By Jennifer Fiala

By the year’s end, AVMA Ed will be no more.

The American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) leadership has decided to terminate its online continuing education site three years after launching it. The reason? Members did not use it enough to justify the staff resources dedicated to it.

Officials did not reveal how many veterinarians have used AVMA Ed or the costs tied to running the program.

The program was unveiled in late 2008, boasting 60 online courses developed with material recorded during the AVMA’s annual convention. AVMA Ed was marketed as the “most convenient, affordable and efficient” distance learning program available to DVMs.

The first hint that AVMA Ed failed to take off as expected occurred a year later, when the program was billed as “new and improved.” What changes were made are unclear, though the site now features more courses in 31 medical practice categories.   

Still, it appears that the improvements were not enough of a draw. “T
he program was offered, not utilized enough and proved to be an inefficient use of AVMA resources,” says Dr. John de Jong, AVMA Executive Board member. 

De Jong says it’s a mystery to him why the nation’s largest association for veterinarians — boasting 81,000-plus members  — did not attract more users to its online CE courses. Eighty-three percent of all U.S. veterinarians are AVMA members.

AVMA staff did not detail why the program did not take off, though state regulations could have been an impediment.

The road for online CE is not paved in the United States the same way it is in Australia and European countries, where distance learning is proliferating. The growth of such programs — intended to reach a nationwide audience — often are hampered by the hodgepodge of CE regulations laid out by veterinary licensing boards in each of America’s 50 states.

The variety of rules can make it tough for veterinarians — and CE providers — to know what’s accepted by state licensing boards for license renewal. At extreme ends of the spectrum, a few states do not require CE for re-licensure while others accept very few hours of online education. 


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