Below is the video of Lawrence Sherman’s presentation “Turning Medical Education Inside Out and Upside Down” from the Alliance for CEHP’s 38th Annual Conference. Watch it. It’s fantastic.
Lawrence talks about the future of continuing education in the health professions from a number of different angles and how, ultimately, “it is all about meeting the educational needs of the learners.” But, what I want to focus on is not the actual content of his presentation (which is great, don’t get me wrong), but how the video of the presentation came to exist in the first place.
The day before the conference started, I was reading through some of the #acehp13 tweets (hashtag for the conference) and noticed someone expressing disappointment that they would not be able to attend Lawrence’s presentation the next day due to a prior commitment. They asked -somewhat in jest – if it could be recorded so that they could watch it later. It was at that point that I tweeted to them that, well, technically we could do so using a Google+ Hangout On Air and archiving the video on YouTube. I have never actually done this beyond just fooling around for 30 seconds or so, but the idea sounded intriguing, so we decided to give it a shot.
The next afternoon, I showed up at Lawrence’s presentation with my MacBook Air and…that’s it. I grabbed a seat in the front row, close to the podium, set my laptop on the table, positioned the built-in video camera as best I could, fired up Google+, started a Hangout On Air, clicked the “Broadcast Now” button, and 5 seconds later I was live streaming Lawrence’s presentation to the world (via my G+ feed and YouTube channel). 5 minutes after the presentation ended, the video was archived on YouTube, ready for viewing. It was incredibly easy to do.
About 5 minutes into the presentation, I realized I had forgotten all about the Prezi slides, so I had to reposition the camera a bit to capture both Lawrence and the screen where the slides were being projected. A few minutes later, I got a tweet from someone watching the video who said the audio had cut-out. I got out my iPhone, plugged in my headphones, and went to my YouTube channel and watched/listened to the presentation as it streamed. Everything seemed fine to me and it turned out to be a problem on the viewer’s end, which she corrected by refreshing her page. The biggest issue I had was that there was no place for me to plug in my laptop and I watched nervously as my power level indicator rapidly dwindled into the red. The presentation ended with less than 10 minutes of power left.
To me, this is the future of CME – advances in technology that make sharing educational content with an open-ended number of potential learners easier, faster, and cheaper (much, much cheaper). Why should we pay tens of thousands of dollars for a video crew to record a presentation when someone armed with only a laptop can do a pretty decent job for free? Yes, the quality of video and audio isn’t the same, but: 1) does that really matter for something like this? (side note: No. If your content is good, people will watch.) and; 2) the quality is only going to improve. It always does.
My advice? Learn how to do a Google Hangout. Learn how to create a screencast. Learn how to use WordPress to build a blog or website. These – along with many others – are the tools the next generation (and current one, too!) of CME professionals will need to know how to use. Learn how to use them or risk being left behind. This is the future of CME.