Thursday, December 8, 2011

Continuing Education

There are many facets to continuing education. Theoretical and factual content can be presented in electronic format. As Whitney points out there is a real difference between a fully integrated online course include informational content, integrating activities, discussion boards and chat and assessment. I have written and present online courses at the school.  A webinar is a helpful introduction to content but very limited in ability to support skill development.  A webinar can be used as a marketing tool as well which is a common practice. Marketing in not continuing education.  I myself am confused about the continuing education currently being offered.  I consider myself a massage therapist and I want to learn about information and perfect skills that make massage more effective.  The continuing education being offered is like a hodge podge of methods and sometimes gimmicks that are often not even related to massage.  I hate gimmicks so I am not even going to address the topic.  Some information being offered provides beneficial adjunct methods that can enhance massage.  Hydrotherapy is an example.  Possibility essential oils would be another adjunct method. 
More important I think continuing education should involve more assessment skills especially palpation, more critical thinking to develop a massage application that meet the needs of a client on that day and keep massage therapists current with research that explains how and why massage is beneficial.  Ergonomics and body mechanics is essential. We can never get enough anatomy and physiology.  Courses about how to be efficient would be helpful. As each of us mature as massage therapists I think we come to realize that it is not about learning more stuff but about being really effective with our skills.   I am a consolidator which makes me a simplifier. I get frustrated when there are 20 names for the same basic style. 
I teach continuing education. The topic is Massage Excellence.  I work with small groups around a broad topic that I know a lot about because I have been taught by an expert, did my own research, practiced the skills, learned more through application with my own clients and students and that I have found to be effective.  The classes do not have a fancy name.    There are no gimmicks and the participants help build the syllabus by answering the question, "So what do you want to know and what are you going to do with it?  Frustratingly enrollment is low even though the cost is affordable and I am really good at what I do. This is why I posted the question.  I wonder what massage therapists want from continuing education.  So what do you all want when you pay for continuing education?

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