Scroll Top

Successful IME programs using adult learning principles: Part 5 (Experience-based learning)

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.

Experience-based Learning

Whether this is your first day on the job, or if you’ve been working in the same profession for 20 years, we all bring a wealth of life experiences to the learning environment, which can be a great foundation for new knowledge acquisition. 

The more learners talk to each other, often the more they realise that (1) our challenges can be quite similar, regardless of location or rank; (2) it feels good to connect with peers and share these challenges in a safe space; and (3) everyone has different gems of knowledge that can help the next person.

For example – interactive case studies, simulations, and expert discussions about and real-world scenarios allows learners to share experiences, learn from each other, and gain a deeper understanding and confidence in applying the knowledge.

Crucially, sharing experiences not only enhances knowledge acquisition but also cultivates communication and teamwork skills essential for effective medical practice.

Using this principle within Springer Healthcare IME programs

Our 2022/2023 program ‘Management of HR+/HER2- early breast cancer’* included expert interviews with a selection of oncologists, with their own perspectives on the evolving treatment landscape. Each interview was based around a specific topic (either a cancer conference, or a selection of trials), and experts spoke about the latest data, their perceptions on that data, and how it might influence their clinical practice.  

By relating new information to prior knowledge, it allowed the learners to listen in on the real-life challenges, hopes, experiences, and expectations of physicians, and reflect on this knowledge within their own clinical practices.

Another good example of experienced-based learning is our 2022 webcast from IMAGE (Insights into Managing Growth for Endocrine Nurses).**  In this interactive session, leading endocrinologists and pediatric nurses shared their experiences in clinical assessment, treatment, patient/family communication, and ongoing management of short-stature syndrome. We have successfully delivered this webcast for several years.  Watch out for the 2024 meeting webcast, which should be available soon.

By facilitating discussion between different types of clinical care members, it opened up a space for each stakeholder to share their knowledge and practical guidance.

Leveraging experience to improve clinical practice applies to the patient experience too.  Some of the most popular aspects of our IME programs (including the above-mentioned breast cancer formats) include patient interviews, where they discuss their experiences with symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, outcome goals, and their relationships with their care team.*  

Ultimately, these conversations help clinicians learn from real experiences to improve shared decision making and patient care.


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

**This programme was made possible thanks to an educational grant received from Merck Healthcare KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.