Scroll Top

Successful IME programs using adult learning principles: Part 3 (Relevance to learner goals)

Posted by Caroline Halford


Welcome back to my blog series on adult learning principles. AKA the handbook of educational design that we at Springer Healthcare IME use when constructing our programs.  

Why is educational design important?  Because we need to make sure that the teaching reaches the audience, keeps them engaged, and that learners can retain the knowledge and use it. 

You can view previous blogs from this series HERE

I would love to know what you think. Do these formats resonate with you? Would you have done anything differently with an educational program? Please send me a message at or via LinkedIn at  and I’ll get back to you.

Relevance to learner goals: Does this advance my career?

Today’s blog focuses on the adult learning principle of relevance. Learners need to be sure from the outset that the program advances their skills, experience, or has the potential to advance their career. 

Will it help them spot symptoms and diagnose a rare disease quicker? Will it up-skill them in knowing which diagnostic tests to use? Will it help them have a good conversation with their patients? Will the content help them obtain a more expert level of practice?

This is why it’s important to write clear learning objectives at the start of the program. Tell the learner what they can expect to learn. What will this program help them to achieve?   

In terms of content, a good program can deliver knowledge, confidence, and competence to do the best for their patient case load.

Using this principle within Springer Healthcare IME programs

In Alzheimer’s, the field of diagnostic techniques (such as PET tracers) and treatments is innovative and has the potential to improve patient outcomes. However, at the moment the global rate of undetected dementia is still as high as 60%, and there are challenges in accurate detection such as the clinically heterogenous population.

To help nuclear medicine physicists and radiologists working in the field of Alzheimer’s improve their diagnostic skills using PET imaging, we delivered a groundbreaking program called ‘Preparing for the new area of neuroimaging for Alzheimer’s disease’.*  The aim of this program is to help learners use and interpret different tracers to aid timely diagnosis and help identify those who would benefit from the emerging disease-modifying therapies. 

We achieved this by delivering an interactive program that guides learners through cases by presenting PET scans, marking up regions of interest, and receiving expert feedback on their positive or negative selection. There were two routes to choose – one for less experienced learners, and one for the more experienced.  Once the participants have marked up potential abnormalities on the scan, they receive video feedback from the experts to help build their confidence and ultimately improve their accuracy in detecting the early signs of mild cognitive impairment.   

This tool could be used to practise diagnosis using real-world examples in a safe setting to improve patient outcomes. A factor that is extremely attractive to learners worldwide.

We were confident that this tool would advance the skills and expertise, which is a sought-after format for the global neurological healthcare population.


*This activity is supported by an educational grant from Lilly.