Faculty–Resident “Co-learning”: A Longitudinal Exploration of an Innovative Model for Faculty Development in Quality Improvement

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Abstract

Purpose

To examine the effectiveness of co-learning, wherein faculty and trainees learn together, as a novel approach for building quality improvement (QI) faculty capacity.

Method

From July 2012 through September 2015, the authors conducted 30 semistructured interviews with 23 faculty participants from the Co-Learning QI Curriculum of the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, and collected descriptive data on faculty participation and resident evaluations of teaching effectiveness. Interviewees were from 13 subspecialty residency programs at their institution.

Results

Of the 56 faculty participants, the Co-Learning QI Curriculum trained 29 faculty mentors, 14 of whom taught formally. Faculty leads with an academic QI role, many of whom had prior QI training, reinforced their QI knowledge while also developing QI mentorship and teaching skills. Co-learning elements that contributed to QI teaching skills development included seeing first how the QI content is taught, learning through project mentorship, building experience longitudinally over time, a graded transition toward independent teaching, and a supportive program lead. Faculty with limited QI experience reported improved QI knowledge, skills, and project facilitation but were ambivalent about assuming a teacher role. Unplanned outcomes for both groups included QI teaching outside of the curriculum, applying QI principles to other work, networking, and strengthening one’s QI professional role.

Conclusions

The Co-Learning QI Curriculum was effective in improving faculty QI knowledge and skills and increased faculty capacity to teach and mentor QI. Findings suggest that a combination of curriculum and contextual factors were critical to realizing the curriculum’s full potential.

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