Creating continuing education courses to optimize safety and independence among older adults with low vision
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INTRODUCTION: Continuing Education (CE) courses for allied health professionals do not consistently reflect the needs of adult learners and may not result in practice changes. In areas of allied health practice with a strong evidence base, poor quality CE courses stunt the dissemination of information which could improve the quality of life of clients. One such area is improving safety and independence of older adults with low vision, who are at increased risk of falls and functional limitations as a result of their visual impairments. DESCRIPTION OF DOCTORAL CAPSTONE: The aim of this doctoral capstone was to discuss the theory and evidence for the creation of effective, learner-centered CE courses and to apply these findings to the creation of CE courses for allied health professionals on the topic of community-dwelling older adults with low vision. RESULTS: The resulting CE courses were compared to the guidelines for a theory-driven, evidence-based course and were found to adhere to quality standards of: use of a needs assessment, reflection of the real-life context of learners, incorporation of active learning and reflection components, inclusion of visible pedagogy, and evaluation of the translation of learning to practice. CONCLUSION: CE courses that adhere to evidence-based, learner centered methods produce better learning and satisfaction outcomes for participants. CE course creators should adhere to these guidelines and advertise the use of theory and evidence to enable clinician participants to identify high-quality continuing education courses. Clinicians who gain knowledge in the areas of low vision diagnoses, screening, referrals, interventions, and resources, through attendance at a well-designed CE course, will be better able to identify clients with low vision and provide evidence-based care which has been found to improve client safety and independence.
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