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MANUSCRIPT: Use of SMART Learning Objectives to Introduce Continuing Professional Development Into the Pharmacy Curriculum



To determine whether a 2-year continuing professional development (CPD) training program improved first-year (P1) and second-year (P2) pharmacy students’ ability to write SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timed) learning objectives.


First-year students completed live or online CPD training, including creating portfolios and writing SMART objectives prior to their summer introductory pharmacy practice experience (IPPE). In year 2, P1 and P2 students were included. SMART learning objectives were graded and analyzed.


On several objectives, the 2011 P1 students (n = 130) scored higher than did the P2 cohort (n = 105). In 2011, P2 students outscored their own performance in 2010. In 2011, P1 students who had been trained in online modules performed the same as did live-session trainees with respect to SMART objectives.


With focused online or live training, students are capable of incorporating principles of CPD by writing SMART learning objectives.

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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