Healthcare professionals, such as physicians and nurses, since it offers accredited learning resources that can carry continuing medical education credit (CME credit).
The public at large, since it doesn’t actually require a medical affiliation to access the learning content. Lifelong learners are welcome.
Offerings: Podcasts to Courses
Interestingly, the platform isn’t just a catalog of online courses. It includes other resources, such on-demand webinars and podcasts. (It also lists paid offerings, such as symposiums, but we won’t focus on those here.)
For example, here are some of the free resources available on the platform:
Podcasts: The Stanford Medcast, a biweekly 30-minute medical podcast. Each episode focuses on a new topic, often related to recent medical developments. For instance, a recent episode discussed gut health.
Webinars: The Pediatric Grand Rounds, a series of hour-long on-demand webinars, where experts discuss various topics related to children’s healthcare. Here’s a webinar that focuses on equity in pediatric care.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect (at least for those that have kept up with developments in online education), is that all the offerings listed above include a free certificate of completion. Ten years ago, this was common in online education. Now, certificates are typically paywalled.
Things may be a bit different in medicine. Indeed, lifelong learning is essential in healthcare, since the field moves fast and lives are on the line. As a result, in many countries, the need for lifelong learning has been codified into the bylaws of healthcare professions.
For instance, in the US, almost all states ask physicians to take part in continuing medical education (CME) activities yearly and accrue a certain number of CME credits. This constant need for recredentialing may explain the perennity of free certificates in healthcare.
Luckily, on the Stanford Medicine platform, when certificates are free, they’re free for everybody, whether you’re in healthcare or not. The only difference is that if you work in healthcare, your certificates will carry CME credit. If you don’t work in healthcare, you’ll still get a certificate, but no credit.
In addition, what’s even less common, you’ll have access to a transcript from Stanford, showing all the courses you’ve taken and the CME credit you’ve earned. You can see my transcript above.
How to Earn Free Certificate & Credit
If you’d like to learn via the Stanford Medicine platform, earn free certificates, and potentially earn continuing medical education credit (CME credit), here’s what you should do:
Sign up on Stanford Medicine. At this step, you’ll specify your profession, which will determine whether your certificates will entail CME credit or not.
Browse the catalog & enroll. Unfortunately, you can’t filter by “Free”. But if you select “On-Demand” in the Activity Type filter, you’ll find plenty of open resources with free certificates and CME credit.
Claim your certificate & credit. Once you finish an offering, claim your certificate and credit via the offering’s catalog page itself, as you can see above. In some cases, you’ll need to complete an assessment to unlock the certificate. You’ll then receive the certificate by email, or you can download it via this page while logged in to Stanford Medicine.