Learning from Teaching

Learning from Teaching recognizes initiative and effort by clinician educators to improve their teaching of medical students, residents, or fellows through acquisition of content knowledge, pedagogy knowledge or both.

You do the learning and the learning that you do must be to prepare you to teach your learners. Participants in the Learning from Teaching program receive AMA Category 1 CME creditsTM.

Please review the information provided below. Consultation with an expert is a requirement, and we encourage you to consider contacting CPL, either by email or our “Make a Request” form, to consult about your individual plan.

What is the Learning from Teaching Program?

Learning from Teaching (LfT) recognizes initiative and effort by clinician educators to improve their teaching of medical students, residents, or fellows through acquisition of content knowledge, pedagogy knowledge, or both.  You do the learning and the learning that you do must be to prepare you to teach your learners.

LfT is a program provided by the Office for Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) at the UNM School of Medicine.  The program is offered in concert with national efforts endorsed by the American Medical Association (AMA), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).   Participants are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM in CME.  The credit is provided in recognition for the time expended to prepare a teaching activity and not for the teaching time.  Nonetheless, a relationship between preparation and teaching is assumed and, as per AMA and ACCME guidelines, UNM provides CME credit as 2 credits for every one hour of teaching time.

What are possible activities for Learning from Teaching?

The ACCME suggests the following categories of potential outcomes from Learning from Teaching activities:

  • Preparing for a student / resident encounter or teaching session
  • Literature searching: updating bibliographies; synthesizing literature
  • Research case materials related to presentations
  • Case discussion promoting questions and information seeking
  • Researching clinical questions online or in journals and other text sources
  • Reflection on teaching encounters and undertaking improvements; developing learning / teaching plans
  • Developing educational materials related to case or clinical problems
  • Formal presentations to medical students, residents, and/or fellows
  • Supervising clinical or simulated activities
  • Instruction on clinical or other skills
  • Assessing learner performance
  • Mentoring QI or PI projects
  • Mentoring of scholarly activities
  • Test item writing

How do I get started?

First, it is important to understand that unlike other CME credits, you will develop a self-directed learning plan rather than attend particular events for specified amounts of time.  You start by identifying a gap in knowledge, competence, or performance experience that you desire to fill.  Examples of gaps may include:

  • Concern about your current knowledge of a topic that you need to present to medical students, residents, and/or fellows
  • Desire to apply research-informed teaching practices while rounding with learners
  • Need to develop teaching cases for small-group learning activities
  • Uncertainty about your knowledge of best practices in teaching a procedure or in performing the procedure yourself in preparation for teaching it to learners
  • Need to use research-informed practices to create better lectures and facilitate active-learning during class sessions
  • Need to provide better quality feedback to learners

After identifying the gap, you build a self-directed learning plan that includes any or all of these resources:

  • Peer-reviewed articles or reports
  • Attendance at CME-certified workshops or trainings (at UNM or elsewhere)
  • Consultation with expert colleagues and staff

Who can I ask for assistance?

You are encouraged to contact CPL (HSC-CPL@salud.unm.edu) for a consultation to (a) define your gap as specifically as possible and (b) to suggest resources that you might utilize in your learning plan.  You are also encouraged to discuss your gap and plan with colleagues who may have encountered similar challenges in their teaching.

Who is eligible?

AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ may be extended to any physician —whether community-based or institution-based, or subset of undergraduate or graduate clinical faculty, full or part-time, voluntary, salaried, or unsalaried. Obtaining credit is not restricted by the learner’s clinical practice. The ACCME definition states that Learning from Teaching represents a range of activities in which an accredited provider can facilitate practice-based learning and improvement- where the practice could be the person’s professional teaching practice or clinical practice or research practice.

What do I have to do?

You must complete two forms in order to receive recognition and CME credits.  These include the learning plan form and the CME attestation.  Please review both forms carefully before initiating your plans and contact CPL to provide further explanation and guidance as needed.

Physicians should report their teaching time (to the nearest 0.25 hr) that is reflective of their new learning on the CME attestation form. Credit is provided for only the first circumstance of utilizing the outcomes of the learning from teaching project.  For instance, if the learning plan prepared a physician to create a new one-hour, interactive lecture they would receive 2 credits for the first delivery of that instruction.  Any subsequent presentation, even if to a different audience (perhaps residents rather than medical students) does not earn additional credit.  Intermittent teaching of learners new content or with new methods while providing patient care in ambulatory-care clinics or at hospital bedsides is allowable by estimating the actual teaching time with learners during one day of teaching on service.

CPL will verify the instruction with either the UME or GME office (as applicable) and CPL will award the appropriate credit(s) and issue the credit certificate.


Learning from Teaching – Example Scenarios (adapted, in part, from the ACCME)

Scenario 1

A faculty member is asked to give an interactive skills-based workshop on “Sinusitis” designed to address medical students’ inability to evaluate patients appropriately for this condition. The faculty member identifies, through self-assessment, that she does not know the anatomy of the sinuses, does not know the pathophysiology of these processes, and does not have a personal strategy in place for taking a history regarding sinusitis or for examining the patient. Therefore, she conducts her own personal learning from teaching project to address these needs—and can then describe what new strategies she develops as a result. Also during this process, she learns several new skills associated with including x-ray images and 3D-imaging videos in her educational presentations using software tools.

Scenario 2

To prepare for teaching a skills workshop at a surgical specialty society meeting, physician faculty find that they need to learn how to operate a new laparoscopic device that will be used during the workshop. The specialty society, as an accredited CME provider, facilitates their training on the new device as a Learning from Teaching CME activity for the faculty prior to their teaching engagement.

Scenario 3

An accredited provider makes available a Learning from Teaching CME activity for community physicians who have recently been recruited as new faculty for undergraduate and graduate medical school instruction in the form of "individualized learning projects" where new faculty assess what knowledge and skills they need to teach more effectively, and then makes available training and feedback to improve their teaching skills. It includes one-to-one mentorship and training with educational experts that is scheduled by the learners.

Scenario 4

In the process of revising a series of educational seminars provided each year for the orientation of new staff members, a physician administrator in the risk-management department finds that she has to learn and incorporate new medical coding knowledge and strategies that have been published since the last orientation she taught. As an accredited CME provider, her institution makes it possible for her to receive CME credit for her Learning from Teaching that involves modifications to her own coding practices while preparing for the seminars.

Scenario 5

While making daily inpatient rounds, a faculty member observes a fellow often shortening case presentations by either the resident or especially medical students and imposing his plans for diagnosis and management.  The fellow wishes for rounds to be efficient, so that the team can go to the clinic on time.  The faculty member considers this interruptive behavior to be counterproductive. Learning about one-minute preceptor microskills should assist the faculty member to instruct the fellow to stimulate more of an interactive learning opportunity by thoughtfully probing for supportive evidence and correcting any mistakes and later by reinforcing what was done right. 

Let Us Know How We Can Help


Mailing Address
Office for Continuous Professional Learning
MSC09 5370  1 UNM
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001


Physical Address
Medical Building Two
2501 Frontier Ave NE #201 
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Email: HSC-CPL@salud.unm.edu