Planning training for evidence users

Planning training for evidence users
Planning training for evidence users

Consider the following 7 steps when planning training for evidence users:

Step 1: Identify your audience

Consider the make-up of your audience. Audiences for improving the uptake of evidence may include practitioners/healthcare professionals, policy makers and healthcare managers, researchers and research funders, consumers and the general public.  Some of these audience may even be broken into subsections (e.g. by type of healthcare professional). It is unlikely that you will be able to cover all audiences at one time.

Step 2: Identify the needs for your target audience

Although each individual is unique, before planning training it is important to understand in general what the needs of your audience are. You may have some information from your past experiences but the best way to find out the needs of your audience is by talking to them and engaging in their work. Some of the areas to consider addressing are:

  • What systematic reviews are and why they are important
  • What Cochrane is and how it operates
  • How to read a systematic review
  • How to interpret a Summary of Findings table
  • How to apply the results and implications of a Cochrane review in practice

Step 3: What format works?

The format for training will depend on the amount of content you wish to cover, the time available for training, and the preferred learning format of your audience. If you have a large amount of content, then it may be better to break it down into a number of modules, or plan a longer training session, although be aware of the increased resources involved in doing so.

Factors to consider include:

  • Face-to-face training (e.g. training courses, workshops)
  • ‘Live’ Presentations (e.g. at conferences, webinars)
  • Multimedia training (e.g. online training modules, blogs, podcasts, videos etc.)
  • One-to-one training (e.g. mentoring or support)

Top Tip! Find out what else has been done in Cochrane. Many groups are already planning and conducting training. Cochrane Training hosts a Trainers' Network - contact them to find out more about how to access this Network.

Step 4: Writing your content

This may take longer than you expect it to! In general the same skills are required as for writing any communication and we have some advice here.

The person who writes the content need to understands both the subject and also the audience they are writing for.  Experience shows that successful training sessions aim to make the material relevant to the audience by including examples and/or clinical scenarios (where appropriate). The material needs to be tailored so that it is the right level for your intended audience, going over the basics quickly if it is something that they are already expected to know.

Once you have finished writing the content should be read by other people to ensure that it is clear. Cochrane colleagues and members of the Knowledge Translation community can help you.

Step 5: Attracting participants

You have your training package, now you need some people to give it to!  In some situations you may have a prespecified audience (for example at a conference) but in other cases you need to advertise the session. You can use websites, email invites, newsletters and social media to help advertise.

Top Tip! Think about whether there are other internal Cochrane Groups (Fields, Geographical Groups) who may be interested in your training and ask them to advertise for your session too. Contact Cochrane Training to share your training for publication on the Learning Events section of their website.

Step 6: Running the session

The big day is here and, like everything, planning is key! There will be many practical issues to think about such as:

  • Where will the session take place?
  • What is the format of the session?
  • What equipment is needed?
  • What do the participants need to bring?
  • What practical learning and information do you want your audience to leave with?

Step 7: Evaluating the session

The work doesn’t stop once the session is over. Planning for whether you, and more importantly your audience, think the session was successful should start at an early stage.

  • Feedback questionnaires to the participants (either paper or online) may be helpful to find out the things that worked well on the day.
  • Measuring learning – you may be able to measure knowledge before and after training to see if there is a difference
  • Change in behaviour or practice – in order to see whether your training has led to a change in behaviour or practice, you may need to follow up with your audience at a later date.
  • Measuring the results of your training in terms of better health is extremely difficult!  However, thinking of the need of your training as identified in step 2, consider and evaluate any outcomes that you can measure which would indicate a behaviour or practice change.
  • Share your experiences with Cochrane Groups through our Knowledge Translation learning resources!