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Logo of mlabJournal informationSubscribeSubmissions on the Publisher web siteCurrent issue of BMLA in PMCAlso see JMLA journal in PMC
Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1990 April; 78(2): 173–179.
PMCID: PMC225372

The changing paradigm for continuing medical education: impact of information on the teachable moment.


The teachable moment is the time when a learner is ready to accept new information for use conceptually or in practice. Adult educators are always searching for that "moment" and models in which it has been incorporated. This article reviews the changing paradigm for continuing education of the health professional and the impact of information from the context of university-based providers of continuing education and information. Providers of continuing education and information face similar external opportunities and threats. The continuing education provider is a "marginal dweller" in the organization. The information provider (the library), although moving in that direction as technology affects the way information is accessed and managed, is much more a part of the core institutional mission. These parallel conditions provide opportunities for both organizations to work closely together to identify successful models to serve the "teachable moments" of all health care practitioners. A range of new library roles that suggest strong interaction with continuing educators is presented. Workable models are identified as well as characteristics of successful models. Suggestions for survival for continuing educators and librarians in "stalking the teachable moment" are discussed.

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