Vision West and C&E Vision announced a major initiative around community building for their members. The California-based companies are sponsoring ECPInteract, which has been in pilot for the last 12 months, beginning this September. The companies say they realized that their combined 7,500 members could be a powerful community for optometrists and optometric staff to derive even greater value from their membership.
Since June of 2013, ECPInteract, a provider of optometry-focused peer-to-peer learning groups, has been piloting an educational proposition for online learning teams–“your peers have so much to offer.” ECPInteract groups provided a trusted environment of peers from across the US guided by an experienced and knowledgeable coach to provide a place where team members can bring their goals and aspirations for guidance and feedback.
“We received very high marks from our attendees, but we felt something was missing,” says Brad Shapiro, principal of C&E Vision, co-founding sponsor of ECPInteract. “Our analysis was showing us that we still needed a subject matter expert (SME) to accelerate the group’s learning.” The team 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,” adds Michael Porat, a group leader for ECPInteract.
The team returned to the design table and is now releasing a new and improved version of the ECPInteract learning model. Instead of open ended discussion groups, attendees will now be able to choose from a wide array of topics the team is calling Engagements. “We are moving away from the structure and the language of traditional courses because, as you will see, these are not traditional courses,” reports Joseph Mallinger, OD, MBA, FAAO, CEO of Vision West Eye Care Business Group and co-founding sponsor of 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 three parts: a 30-minute didactic lecture from a SME, 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,” says 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.”
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,” says Shapiro. “Our new offering of Engagements is now available on our new web site. 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 Eric Botts, OD, are among the SMEs participating. “The quality of the personnel who are excited to be involved in this project is indicative of its value,” says Joseph Mallinger, OD. “The ECPInteract methodology is a teacher’s dream come true.”
To find out more about peer-to-peer adult learning principles, executive coaching or to register to be part of an ECPInteract group, visit www.ecpinteract.com.
To learn if joining a peer-to-peer Engagement group is right for you, take the ECPInteract Challenge on our web site. ECPInteract Engagements, calendar and newsletter can also be found at www.ecpinteract.com. Each Engagement has a very limited enrollment (15 to 20 attendees), so optometrists are encouraged to register early.