Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 40, Issue 10, October 2011

Small group learning A general practice program

Klaus Stelter Silvana Marangoni
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Divisions of general practice have a major role in supporting continuing medical education for general practitioners. One option is small group learning (SGL), which requires GPs getting together to plan, organise their learning and to evaluate their learning outcomes.
This article describes the development and evaluation of an SGL program facilitated by the St George Division of General Practice in New South Wales.
In 2009, 10 monthly SGL groups were running, involving a total of 130 GPs (59% of 2009 division membership) of whom 107 GPs completed the evaluation questionnaire. On the criterion of ‘meeting learning needs’ 82% rated SGL as very good and 18% as good; on the criterion of ‘increase in knowledge’ 90% confirmed specific new knowledge. On ‘implementing a change in clinical practice’ 66% of written responses directly attributed change of practice to the SGL sessions. The SGL program was well attended and rated positively. This may reflect that the groups were effectively organised, allowed GPs to decide their own learning needs, and that the group process engendered a culture of trust and collegiality that overcame reluctance to reveal knowledge gaps.

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