CME Medical Writing Training – Educational Objectives


Educational goals are among the most important steps in planning a Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Professional Development (CME/CPD) activity. They stem from the needs assessment, which determines what physicians need to learn to improve patient health outcomes. Goals therefore describe what clinicians will learn by participating in the activity. The objectives guide the choice of faculty and content, and act as a frame of reference for the activity planner between the planner’s intent and what the learning achieves

Goals are also used when evaluating a program to determine whether the CME/CPD activity is successful – that is, does the learner’s actual practice improve when they return to their clinical setting. Therefore, content in the CME/CPD planning process is not created in a vacuum, but rather is designed and created with the goal of meeting the educational goals of the program.


Educational goals should be specific, concrete and concise. You can focus on a variety of “measurable” measures: knowledge, skills, attitudes, and practice (long-term future behavior). There are three main types of goals, only one of which is really applicable to CME/CPD:

learning goals – specify what the The learner will learn or understand at the end of a learning activity.

Teaching goals (teaching goals). – specify what the teacher intends to achieve during a learning activity. This type of goal describes a process, not an outcome, and is useful when stated at the beginning of a program.

behavioral goals – specify what the Learners might do things differently (change in behavior) because of what has been learned. This is the type of goal setting that must be used to formulate educational goals for continuing medical education (CME/CPD) programs and is the type of goal setting most likely to be required of medical writers.


Occasionally, clients (and even some CME/CPD professionals) call all educational goals “learning goals” because they don’t know the difference between the three types. It is also common to formulate learning objectives rather than behavioral objectives for CME/CPD activities. The CME certification no longer cares about what the learner will learn. The certification focuses on what the learner will do with the new knowledge or skills. As the focus on practice change increases, CME/CPD providers are shifting to using behavioral goals to describe what learners can achieve through participation in their programs.



Before writing goals, it’s helpful to ask those involved in planning the activity a few questions. Ideally, these questions would have been answered in a well-designed needs analysis (a topic for another article), but if the needs analysis is not completed or not done well, these questions can help in creating strong goals and program design. These questions can serve as a guide to ensure the goals are more meaningful to both the program developers and the learners.

Ask the customer: Which procedure, result or change does the needs analysis show to be necessary? Or does the planning committee consider this necessary?

Ask the faculty: What information can you share to improve understanding and literacy of the intended audience?

Ask the target audience: What do you want participants to take away from this activity? What would you like to take away from this activity? What do you need to improve your practice?

This is the overview of writing educational goals, which is an important part of designing an educational activity for healthcare professionals. Goals are one of approximately seven steps in creating a program that, when completed, create a chain of steps to create a successful online presentation or live event for both the CME provider and the audience.

Thanks to Johanna Lackner Marx | #CME #Medical #Writing #Training #Educational #Objectives

Check Also

Adult Education Can Open New Earning Opportunities

Adult Education Can Open New Earning Opportunities

Sometimes people don’t get a good education when they are young, and adult education courses …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *