Instructional Design and Pain Education

Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, BCPS, CPE, FASPE

Pain clinicians are also pain educators, and it’s critically important for them to understand the basic principles of instructional systems development or instructional design. One approach that I like is the ADDIE model, which stands for analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. One of the most important and most overlooked steps is analyzing the audience. The clinician/educator needs to think through who they’re talking to, what’s their educational background, why do they need to know this, how is the best way to explain and convey.

Good instructional design can also help the clinician evaluate the effectiveness of their educational and therapeutic approach. We have 4 levels of evaluation. Level 1 is what we call the smile sheets. Did I meet my learning objectives? Did the audience like the approach? Level 2 is assessment of knowledge. I could give a quiz saying, for example, now that we’ve talked about pain, please tell me what are the 8 elements of symptom analysis? Level 3 is evaluation of effect: due to my education, is my patient doing things differently in his or her life now? Level 4 is the Holy Grail. Are patients achieving better outcomes because their healthcare providers are doing different things thanks to the education that I implemented?

More of Dr. McPhersons’s thoughts on instructional design and pain education may be viewed here.

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