Novel education strategies underway in AO VET

In order to remain the world leader in providing trauma education, the AO VET Education Commission, lead by Dr. Alessandro Piras, is placing strategic focus on four areas: Innovation in Education, Educating the Educators, Global Strategy, and Sustainability

03 November 2017

Innovation in Education—developing a new, competency-based AO VET curriculum

Alessandro Piras

Before Alessandro Piras assumed the role as Chair of the AO VET Education Commission, he took the Faculty Education Program (FEP), Education Leadership Program (ELP), and Regional Education Teams Training (RETT) courses to clearly understand and apply the principles and concepts of medical education. These have proven useful in his goal to shift AO VET's traditional course format to a modernized, learner-centered, ‘needs-based approach to continuing professional learning'. With the full support of the AO VET International Board, the project to create the first AO VET competency-based learning curriculum kicked-off in September 2015.

Dr Piras, together with a team of specialists, including: Amy Kapatkin (Education Commission NA), Toby Gemmill (European Board Member, Education Commission Member), Mark Glyde (Regional Chair AOAP & Education, Commission Member), Tomas Guerrero (AOLAT Board Member, Education Commission Member), Carl Kirker-Head (AOVET Chairperson and provisionally representing equine), as well as Urs Rüetschi, Miriam Uhlmann, and Mike Cunningham from the AO Education Institute, have participated in this initiative to start to create a rich learning experience for veterinary surgeons. 

"The initial phase of the project included identifying participants' learning needs by defining the clinical scope of the patient health problems in our field," shares Dr Piras. "In addition, we identified the high level competencies (or abilities) required to achieve the best outcomes," he adds. In a second phase, a smaller group convened to further assess the needs of the target audience, and to define the competencies in terms of knowledge, skill, and attitudes. "We also selected the appropriate nonoperative and operative procedures to include in our curriculum and courses, as well as the online and paper-based resources we could develop to help build knowledge and skills," explains Dr Piras. "Our new curriculum, with goals, competencies, and learning outcomes in place, is now being used to build programs and templates for courses and other educational events. We are also integrating online resources for cognitive learning, practical laboratory exercises for treatment planning and to build skills, as well as case discussions that will facilitate a change in attitude to improve patient care," he adds.
The new principles course curriculum will be ready for presentation in April at the AO VET International Board meeting. Afterwards, the advanced course curriculum will be developed. A needs assessment (survey and interviews) will also be conducted amongst equine veterinary surgeons in different regions to identify their educational needs.
Educating the Educators—new faculty and chairperson requirements starting January 2016
Maintaining leadership in education requires not only novel ways of educating but also requires a well-educated faculty to provide a superior learning experience. To assure a high level of teaching competency, the educational system for AO VET faculty has been restructured.

Starting January 2016:

1) The faculty list will be re-evaluated
2) Faculty will be required to have an FEP (within a certain period)
3) Every surgeon involved in teaching will be required to have an FEP
4) All chairpersons will need to attend the FEP and Chairperson Training Program (CTP)
5) Two chairpersons will be assigned to assume responsibility for a course
6) Every course will include trained evaluators

Identifying synergies and cultivating a rich learning experience

To support its educational efforts, the AO VET International Board is identifying synergies for integration from across the entire AO Foundation. On this front, one synergy has already been identified: AO VET will be working with the AO Education Institute to create educational packages to support faculty and chairpersons in their roles.
"The commission is also taking steps to harmonize education globally, taking into account regional and national needs, and socio-economic and cultural differences," shares Dr Piras. 

Putting it all together

Overall, these new developments by the AO VET Education Commission will help to ensure that AO VET's principles, advanced, and masters level educational programs are given in a globally aligned, systematic manner, and that participants are provided with an environment that fosters a rich learning experience.



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