How health care providers select topics and activities for learning is key to meeting their needs. The goal of this study was to investigate how oncology providers identify knowledge gaps and choose learning activities. An online focus group within a larger longitudinal study was conducted between November 2015 and August 2016. Participants were chosen by convenience and stratified random sampling of diverse types of oncology providers. Providers were asked monthly to identify learning needs, explain how they identified those needs, and describe the learning activity they chose to meet those needs. Thirty-two oncology providers recorded 201 learning needs via online journal entries (mean 6 entries per person). Needs were associated with practice setting and professional role (p <.05). Colleague recommendation predicted learning needs for advanced practice providers (APPs) (p =.003). Patient cases drove > 50% of identified learning needs across groups. Learning activity preferences were associated with practice setting (p <.05). Choice of learning activity was associated with practice setting, professional role, and geographic location. Colleague recommendation was important for APPs (p =.025). Over 75% of learner responses identify convenience and content quality as important factors in choosing an activity. This study represents a quantitative assessment of learning behaviors for oncology providers and shows that identification of learning needs and activity selection differ by provider demographics. Limitations include small size and underrepresentation of some groups. Our findings should be confirmed with larger samples. Future research should focus on assessment of cohort versus individual needs and learning priorities.
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