Continuing education

Delve into our educational philosophy and how we got to where we are today

How we got here

The AO was established in 1958 by a small group of Swiss surgeons committed to improving patient outcomes through research, development, documentation, and education. The surgeon founders worked closely with scientists and metallurgists to develop key principles and methods of fracture care. The “AO Method” fostered excellent clinical results and gained a great deal of popularity, prompting the AO surgeons to broaden their focus to providing evidence-based and quality education internationally. AO North America (AO NA) was established in 1992 and has served as a credible resource for the continuing professional development of surgeons throughout North America.

Beginning with just 69 learners at the first AO Course in 1960, the AO reached over 50,000 global learners in 2019. Since 2006, AO NA as an accredited education provider has delivered 672 activities with 11,164.5 hours of instruction and 651,638.5 CME credit hours claimed.

How we do it

Our learning activities are built around evidence-based best practices in learning. We achieve this by having surgeons and educationalists work together to create learning experiences that are meaningful, relevant, and highly engaging. Our faculty participate in development programs that enable them to augment learning experiences with techniques based on cognitive sciences, behavioral psychology, and ongoing research related to best practices.

As a result, our approach to learning has evolved over the years to what it is today: agile, personalized, and focused on gaps in practice that are gathered through needs assessments, expert opinions, feedback from learners, and market data. What started as a mix of lectures, small group discussions, and simulated skills labs has turned into innovative digital learning, AR/VR performance training, and much more. Within any learning modality, our surgeons and staff are committed to delivering enriching education, working with great passion to ensure such experiences are effective and contribute to quality patient outcomes.

Learning activities


Interact and learn from surgical experts onsite through presentations, small group discussions, and simulated procedural skills labs


Engaging and interactive learning assets available on demand, live, and archived

"The AO Foundation’s greatest mission is to educate. Our faculty change the world on a personal level, one-to-one, ever adapting and improving."

Roger Wilber, MD, AO NA Education Advisory Board Chair
MetroHealth Medical Center