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Communities of Practice, Self-Directed Learning, and Continuing Medical Education

"Building a Learning Organization: Communities of Practice, Self-Directed Learning, and Continuing Medical Education" by Sharon J. Confessore

In The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, Volume 17, pp. 5-11. 1997.



Abstract: Learning organizations may provide a mechanism by which physicians can meet the challenges currently occurring in the medical profession, such as the emergence of HMOs, increased concern over medical costs, and the need to maintain continuing competence in increasingly complex environments. Learning organizations are generative; they are responsive and have been used effectively during times of rapid change and in chaotic, highly competitive environments. This paper describes the learning organization and discusses how self-directed learning and communities of practice provide the beginnings for the establishment of a learning organization in the medical profession. Continuing medical education (CME) is seen as the mechanism to transfer new knowledge across all members of the community of practice and become a key component in building learning organizations.