CE, professional development for the 21st-century optometry practice

October 6, 2021
The AOA’s second-ever Virtual Learning Livecast delivered a high-quality and impactful online education experience, emphasizing the benefits of the AOA’s year-round education focus.
2021 Virtual Learning Livecast

Successfully delivering high-quality, impactful education straight into optometric professionals’ hands, the second-ever Virtual Learning Livecast emphasized the value of the AOA’s year-round learning initiative.

The AOA 2021 Virtual Learning Livecast, Oct. 1-2, offered to hundreds of doctors of optometry, paraoptometrics and optometry students an opportunity to choose from 32 expert-led, continuing education (CE) and professional development courses and engage in online learning from the comfort of their home or office. The two-day, virtual event featured high-quality, actionable education in topics ranging from contemporary optometric procedures and clinical skills to practice management panels and timely public health and social conversations.

Brad Lane, O.D., AOA Education Center Committee co-chair, says the success of the Virtual Learning Livecast could be measured in the level of participation and engagement of attendees; it’s a testament to optometric professionals’ commitment to lifelong learning and professional development.

“I believe doctors of optometry crave clinically sound information designed to enhance their ability to serve patients and provide exceptional eye care,” Dr. Lane says. “Through events such as this, the AOA demonstrates its dedication to advancing the knowledge and professional development of its membership.”

With educational courses tailored to doctors, paraoptometrics and a coordination-building combination of both, the Virtual Learning Livecast promoted practices’ ability to educate and train their care teams for the realities of 21st century care, including sessions geared toward optometry’s advancing scope of practice.

Additionally, the virtual nature of the educational event afforded the ability for professionals to log in from across the country, without taking considerable time off from their practices.

“Convenient online learning allows us to provide unique opportunities to all of our members—doctors, paraoptometrics and students,” Dr. Lane says. “We had the ability to create panel discussions with speakers from different corners of our country, and from my home in West Virginia, I was honored to moderate a course with panelists in three different states: Alabama, California and New York.  Normally, this would require a long weekend trip and time away from home, but we were all only a click away.”

AOA’s year-round education initiative realized

Professional learning doesn’t have to revolve around semi-annual education events—in fact, the AOA recognizes the need for high-quality, actionable CE and professional development that’s accessible when and where it works for optometric professionals. That’s why the AOA’s focus on a year-long continuum of education, headlined by Optometry’s Meeting® and supported by regular, online learning opportunities, as well as the disbursement of AOA credit for that education, stands to offer AOA members considerable value.

“Right now is a prime opportunity to have year-long education and really start to view education as something that isn’t confined to a lecture hall,” notes George Veliky, O.D., AOA Education Center Committee co-chair, in the May/June 2021 AOA Focus feature, “Rethinking, Reimagining, Redoing How Optometry Learns.”

“That’s almost an outdated way of thinking about it, because there are so many ways to learn now, and we want to offer those alternate avenues of learning and education to our members beyond simply sitting in a classroom.”

But how does it work? The AOA’s Education Center develops a curriculum of progressive, comprehensive courses that can navigate learners through the fundamentals of a topic, as well as further into more advanced applications, over the course of an educational series. In 2021, the Education Center focused on a series of CE and professional development that spans disciplines, including diabetes, telemedicine, office-based surgical procedures, financial literacy and vaccine administration. Elements have been incorporated into the course selection at Optometry’s Meeting, the Virtual Learning Livecast and the AOA’s centralized, on-demand learning portal, EyeLearn.

“If we have an opportunity to have stepwise learning opportunities year-round, we can help people develop the competencies and initiative to help really implement a change that benefits the profession,” Dr. Veliky adds.

Members can continue their learning experience—or access new content—with the AOA’s EyeLearn Professional Development Hub. This member-exclusive, online catalog of educational modules, webinars and resources is where doctors of optometry and their paraoptometric staff can access CE and professional development for a range of topics. With an ever-expanding library, EyeLearn is where members (and AOA associate-member paraoptometrics) will find on-demand #AskAOA webinars, paraoptometric certification prep work, and prior Optometry’s Meeting and Virtual Learning Livecast courses, too.

Here’s how to leverage your membership and begin learning through EyeLearn:

  1. Visit the AOA’s EyeLearn Professional Development Hub login portal and sign in using your AOA username and password.
  2. Select the “My Learning” tab to access your AOA Classroom and find your previously selected, on-demand programs.
  3. Select the “Online Learning Home” tab to access the catalog of on-demand courses available and choose a course you would like to view.

For additional information about accessing EyeLearn, watch this brief orientation course for step-by-step instructions and help.

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