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J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2011 Fall;31(4):268-75. doi: 10.1002/chp.20140.

Using problem-based case studies to learn about knowledge translation interventions: an inside perspective.

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Health Information Management, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, McGill University, New Brunswick, Canada E1C 6C4.


Knowledge translation (KT) interventions can facilitate the successful implementation of best practices by engaging and actively involving various stakeholders in the change process. However, for novices, the design of KT interventions can be overwhelming. In this article, we describe our experience as participants in a problem-based case study on planning a KT intervention and reflect on the use of problem-based learning (PBL) to develop knowledge and skills relevant to the KT process. Participants were six fellows and two faculty members attending the 2009 Canadian Institutes of Health Research KT Summer Institute. Participants received a case study asking them to develop a KT intervention with the goal of implementing a stroke response protocol for hospital inpatients. The group was given 5 hours spread over 2 days to complete the learning task. As the members of the small group reflected on their experience with the case study, 4 themes emerged: (1) balancing engaging stakeholders with moving forward; (2) exploring the research gaps and role of the Knowledge-to-Action Framework; (3) investigating methodological approaches for KT research; and (4) experiencing a supportive training environment. Participation in the problem-based case study allowed participants to expand their individual understanding of KT, while fostering the learning experiences of other group members. In a supportive learning environment, participants were able to identify influential stakeholders for the stroke response protocol implementation, discuss potential barriers by stakeholder group, and consider effective KT interventions. Future training initiatives focusing on strengthening KT capacity and knowledge should consider using small-group problem-based case study to facilitate learning.

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