• Diagnosis differ;
  • doctors, family/*education;
  • *education, medical, continuing;
  • melanoma/*diagnosis;
  • pamphlets;
  • Scotland;
  • skin neoplasms/*diagnosis;
  • teaching materials


Increasing interest in continuing medical education is reflected in greater demand for educational programmes. Content and educational strategies should be appropriate to the needs of the target audience. Proper matching of content and strategies to target needs of users requires the instructional design to be carefully planned and based on a needs-assessment study. We illustrate the influence of educational needs on content and learning strategies through an educational programme for general practitioners on the subject of malignant melanoma. Its design includes: i. a trigger leaflet; ii. a core text; iii. a set of interactive case studies; iv. a job-aid card; v. a follow-up leaflet; and vi. recorded messages available by telephone. It addressed, in particular, the key decision to be taken by the general practitioner: ‘When should I refer a patient with a suspected early melanoma: when should I merely reassure the patient?’ Doctors were invited, in the programme, to make decisions about referral of patients. They received immediate feedback on their decisions. Various strategies reinforced this feedback.