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HomemioptometryEvolving Professional Education Options

Evolving Professional Education Options

The new CPD regime is just months away. Optometry Australia members are assured of an easy transition and exciting, quality education through its Institute of Excellence.

The Optometry Australia (OA) Institute of Excellence has provided our members with extensive and comprehensive opportunities for learning since its launch in August 2019. Our decision to establish a quality online education portal has ensured we were well positioned to offer members exceptional value in the midst of the COVID-19 disruption.

we are working with all our state organisations to provide members with a comprehensive and complementary offering of CPD, in flexible and varied modes of delivery

OA has provided a substantial number of webcasts on broad ranging topics in 2019- 2020. AVC Virtual and WAVE@home were well supported and appreciated by membership. Flexible and innovative models of delivery and learning are here to stay and we will continue to provide members with the most up-to-date and quality education available.

One such innovation was Optometry Virtually Connected (OVC). The event attracted over 2,200 delegates, with an average of 900 attendees at Optometry Australia’s live webcasts. On demand webcasts attracted an average of 230 optometrists. This innovative format was first considered by the OA team about four years ago, though deferred until we thought the sector was likely to be more attuned to online learning. Support for the Institute of Excellence provided the team with evidence that the sector was now ripe and ready for innovation and earlier this year they commenced planning for a significant online event to be held in late 2020. COVID-19 provided the need to move far quicker and support members and the sector more broadly with the opportunity to experience a virtual conference.

The high level of attendance is evidence that the online engagement was a good fit. The optometry sector is a small and collaborative profession, and it was obvious that attendees enjoyed interacting with colleagues after months of isolation. Rural and remote practitioners, and parents with young children, welcomed the flexibility of the virtual format. The extensive feedback we received, and our own learnings from the inaugural event, will ensure a more enhanced offering next time around. The evolution of the Institute continues while we adapt to meet the Optometry Board of Australia’s (OBA) new CPD standards that come into effect on 1 December 2020. Our concerted efforts will ensure a very smooth transition for members, as we strive to provide technological solutions that will make CPD planning and recording simple and convenient.

The OBA has always required a Learning Portfolio (Learning Plan), however there will be renewed emphasis on this from 1 December. We are delighted to provide members with an electronic, interactive plan that enables them to identify their learning needs; populate the plan with CPD activities and events to meet those needs; have their CPD event attendance automatically recorded; and, complete the reflection on each activity that the OBA requires.

One of the many benefits of OA membership is the fact that CPD points are automatically collected and recorded if members attend accredited CPD events. All association events, including conferences, will operate the same way from 1 December. External providers will have the opportunity to submit their CPD for OA quality assurance, which will allow inclusion in the Institute CPD calendar and result in recording of attendance hours directly into a member’s Learning Plan.

OA is exploring further resources to support small group interactive education, a key feature of the new CPD landscape. These will enhance critically important, and much valued, face-to-face activities arranged by our state divisions. Importantly, we are working with all our state organisations to provide members with a comprehensive and complementary offering of CPD, in flexible and varied modes of delivery.

Lyn Brodie is the National Chief Executive Officer of Optometry Australia.