C&E Vision and Vision West Launch ECPInteract, New Learning Model

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SAN DIEGO— Vision West and C&E Vision have announced a major initiative as founding co-sponsors of a new approach to online learning, ECPInteract.

The two membership-based business and buying groups view ECPInteract as a “community building” program, which can provide a way for optometrists and optometric staff among the groups’ combined 7,500 members to derive even greater value from their membership.

ECPInteract has been in pilot for 12 months and has just been expanded with a new approach to its learning model. Instead of more traditional, open ended discussion groups, attendees will now be able to choose from a wide array of topics which the ECPInteract team is calling “Engagements.” Commenting on the original test, Brad Shapiro, principal of C&E Vision, said, “We received very high marks from our attendees, but we felt something was missing. Our analysis was showing us that we still needed a subject matter expert (SME) to accelerate the group’s learning.”

The team has introduced subject matter experts on different topics at each meeting. “We immediately saw an increase in interaction, engagement and our two-hour course time seemed to disappear,” stated Michael Porat, a group leader for ECPInteract.

An “Engagement” is comprised of four to seven, 90-minute sessions, typically meeting once per week. Engagements have two leaders—a group moderator and an SME. Engagements are composed of: a 30-minute didactic lecture from a subject matter expert, followed by a one-hour discussion with that SME and the group. The last and critical step is called Application or homework. Attendees are asked to take what they’ve learned and apply it in their practice.

At the following meeting, attendees report out on how well the application succeeded or if there were any difficulties encountered. “It is a powerful learning model and I know I learned a lot while I participated,” reported Movses D’janbatian, OD a pilot participant. “It is the combination of important topics, an expert opinion and the grounded, experienced reality of your peers that makes this program work.”

“We are moving away from the structure, and the language, of traditional courses because, these are not traditional courses,” reported Joseph Mallinger, OD, MBA, FAAO, CEO of Vision West Eye Care Business Group.

A new library of engagements is launching this September, and is available for registration now. “This is an exciting opportunity to take all that we have learned about the best methodologies of learning and peer-to-peer interaction and apply them anew,” stated Shapiro. “We are starting with 15 engagements and have many more in design at this time.”

Noted optometric trainers such as Alistair Jackson, John Marvin, Mark Hinton and Dr. Eric Botts are among the subject matter experts participating. “The quality of the personnel who are excited to be involved in this project is indicative of its value,” commented Mallinger.

Each engagement has a very limited enrollment (15 to 20 attendees), so optometrists are encouraged to register early. Those interested in joining a peer to peer engagement group can take the ECPInteract Challenge on the website. ECPInteract calendar and newsletter can also be found on the site.