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As convenient as it getts

May 1, 2010
In a survey conducted not that long ago, PennWell (the publisher of RDH) attempted to discern how dental professionals prefer to fulfill their obligations ...

by Mark Hartley
[email protected]

In a survey conducted not that long ago, PennWell (the publisher of RDH) attempted to discern how dental professionals prefer to fulfill their obligations to earn continuing education credits for relicensure purposes.

A very vocal percentage replied with something to the effect of, “Unless a seminar is hosted at the Holiday Inn three blocks from my house, I’m not interested.”
A recent course offered by

The point made is that this legal requirement gets in

the way of, you know, living — going fishing on the weekend, watching the kids play soccer, firing up the grill with the neighbors if the weather is nice, etc.

Continuing education had better be convenient, or else.

This is a shame, of course, since, for example, both the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and RDH magazine host terrific conferences that are for hygienists only. Although it may not be the Holiday Inn that you can see if you crane your neck a certain way from the upstairs bathroom window, almost all state dental hygiene associations also devote a whole year preparing programs for hygienists, and many “annual sessions” rotate cities throughout a state.

In this issue, we asked Ann-Marie DePalma, who is about as devoted a disciple of “live” seminars as you can get (and author of the “From the Podium” column in each issue) to take a look at online continuing education programs.

Ann-Marie writes, “Hygienists I have spoken with in regard to online continuing education programs have stated that they prefer live events; however, they understand that there are times when attending a live event is not feasible. Some areas of the country do not have access to regularly scheduled continuing education events, so attending an online program is beneficial ... Travel is expensive, and many hygienists have family or work commitments that dictate when and where courses can be taken.”

In her article, Ann-Marie discusses, which is also managed by PennWell. The courses are available at the Web site (and sometimes appear in RDH eVillage). Obviously, the “hard copy” of the courses also appears in most issues of RDH.

I asked Aldo Eagle, the vice president of education for, about which courses have been the most popular among dental hygienists. The top two courses are “An update on the dangers of soda pop” by Dr. Gary Kaplowitz, and “Building Bridges: Dental Care for Patients with Autism” by Karen Raposa, RDH, and DePalma.

Eagle said averages 3,500 course participants a month among all dental professionals, and about 55% of that enrollment is dental hygienists.

Eagle said. “We offer convenience and strong, practical content that appeals to all clinicians. We anticipate our online CE program to continue its strong growth.”

So someone out there thinks the computer in the third-bedroom-converted-into-a-study is even more convenient than the Holiday Inn three blocks away. Learning is a state of mind, comfortable and convenient where you find it.

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