Objective: To describe the experiences of learning in small groups and the impact of small group continuing medical education (CME).
Design: Literature review, personal communication and critical reflection.
Setting: General practice in Sweden.
Subjects: Small CME groups.
Main outcome measures: Occurrence, themes and impact of small CME groups.
Results: In 1998, there were approximately 230 small CME groups in Sweden, which means that nearly half of Swedish general practitioners (GPs) participated in such activities. Although widely used in Sweden, small CME groups are less practised than "traditional" CME activities, such as lectures. Group work might enhance knowledge development, enable the assessment of individual learning needs and facilitate the adoption of national guidelines and agreements between primary and secondary care. A competent group leader is crucial.
Conclusion: A transition from passive to interactive learning in small groups is recommended.