DID-ACT meets in Bern: Interim report, sustainability and dissemination

After a long wait due to the pandemic, the DID-ACT project team with partners and associate partners had the opportunity to once again meet face-to-face. From the 22-23rd of September, teammates from Slovenia, Malta, Germany, and Poland travelled to Bern, Switzerland. Regrettably, due to travel restrictions, the Örebro team members, as well as Steve Durning from the USA, could not attend physically. Despite this limitation, they were fully present virtually alongside other associate partners. Thanks to the fantastic technical support by Bern University, all partners from home could be switched to the meeting and were present on a separate screen in the room. The audio and video quality were very good and synchronous discussion was possible.

Our virtual participants from Örebro University

Objectives of Meeting in Bern

The main objectives of the meeting were to many beyond catching up with the status of the project. We spent significant time discussing the evaluation and feedback results from the interim report, immediate and longer term next steps, as well as initiating the sustainability and integration guideline deliverables.

Interim Report for the DID-ACT Project

The interim report feedback was quite positive. However, there is also some room for improvement. Improvements highlighted include documentation and visibility of project outcomes concerning quality indicators, document structure, and better connection between related work packages (WP) 5, 6 and 8. Alongside these, connection to our central work packages and creating the learning units (LUs) in WP3 and 4.

Our next challenge is the upcoming pilot implementations to be held at the various institutions. Starting in September 2021, we still have some learning units in the realm of clinical reasoning left to develop. The curriculum development workload continues at high speed until the end of the year. Our previous process, including our process for reviewing learning units, will be fine-tuned for a more practical and effective approach. These were discussed during the meeting at Bern and will be further highlighted in a coming blogpost.

Sustainability & Dissemination in a Clinical Reasoning Curriculum

While the topics of dissemination and sustainability have been ongoing throughout the project, we took our face-to-face meeting as an opportunity to cement next steps. We feel that the sustainability concepts resulting from the pilots will be very valuable. There will also be external feedback included. We will create a minimal plan for cost-covering in the first years after the project ends based on the many ideas that surfaced in the meeting. Additionally, we will focus on integration of project results into partner curricula and inclusion of associate partners to also recruit people and keep the project content alive.

In addition to the very fruitful and motivating discussions held during the day, the evening was equally well-spent. We had a team lunch followed up by some ice cream, as well as dinner and a walk around the ‘old town’.

Group picture (from left to right: Martin Adler ( Instruct), Christian Fässler (ETH Zürich), Živa Ledinek (University of Maribor), Alice Bienvenu (University of Augsburg), Jennifer Vrouvides (EDU), Inga Hege (University of Augsburg), Melina Körner (University of Augsburg), Sören Huwendiek (University of Bern), Claudia Schlegel (Berner Bildungszentrum Pflege), Monika Sobočan (University of Maribor), Małgorzata Sudacka (Jagiellonian University), Andrzej Kononiwcz (Jagiellonian University) and virtual participants Desiree Wiegleb Edström (Örebro University), Samuel Edelbring (Örebro University), Marie Lidskog (Örebro University), Daniel Donath (EDU), Steve Durning (Uniformed Services University)).

It was a great pleasure to at least meet the vast majority of the team in a face-to-face environment. We plan to have our next face to face meeting in Maribor early next year. Following that, we hope that rescheduling our next meeting in May 2022 in Krakow can be held. We are hopeful that the COVID19 situation will allow these meetings. This face-to-face time is a great experience for the development of the project as well as for our development as colleagues. 

Thanks to our host Sören Huwendiek organizing the meeting and all partners and associate partners contributing to this project meeting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

How to teach synchronously in a virtual setting

  • You need a reliable camera, microphone, and virtual platform and be familiar with its features, such as whiteboard, chat, polling, breakout rooms, etc.
  • At the beginning establish communication rules, e.g. whether participants should raise their (virtual) hand, use the chat, and/or just speak. Also, we recommend asking participants to turn on their camera
  • For small group work break out rooms work very well, just be clear about the tasks the groups should work on prior to dividing them into the groups.
  • For collaboration the use of integrated virtual whiteboards or other platforms such as Padlet are very useful. Just make sure prior to the session that you have everything setup and the links at hand, e.g. to post them in the chat.
  • Allow a bit more time for starting the session and the group works as there might be participants who are not familiar with the platform or technical problems might occur.

How to motivate unprepared participants

  • Make clear that the asynchronous assignments are a core part of the course and that its content will not be repeated. Even if it is difficult, stick to that when starting the synchronous teaching session.
  • If you expect unprepared participants, you can start the session with a student-centered group exercise mixing prepared and unprepared students to increase peer-pressure and make them realize that being unprepared does not feel good.  
  • Use the introductory or closing quizzes / tests so that participants can self- assess whether they have the required knowledge and you as a facilitator can see the level of knowledge and preparation of your participants.

Further recommended reading:

How to involve participants with different levels of experience

  • To account for such different levels, we recommend making use of the asynchronous preparatory phases which also include introductory quizzes in which participants can self-assess their prior knowledge and you as a facilitator can assess the differences within your group. Participants with less prior experience can also be guided to additional preparatory resources.
  • Encourage participants to work in pairs or small groups when preparing so that they can help and learn from each other. You could even facilitate this by dividing them into groups with different levels of experience.
  • Similarly, during the synchronous phases, we recommend forming groups with participants different levels of experience and emphasize the peer support aspects of such group activities.
  • We also recommend starting with rather smaller groups and allow more time than stated in the course outlines, if you expect a heterogenous level of experience. This way you can better manage this challenge.
  • Encourage your participants to ask questions, emphasizing that nobody knows everything and that it is important for learning to ask questions.  
  • Especially in the train-the-trainer course you might have to deal with over-confident participants, who especially in an interprofessional setting can dominate the group. This is a complex cultural challenge, but you could try to establish (and follow) communication rules at the beginning of a session.  

How to address potential overlaps or redundancies

  • Identify what is already included and what is missing in your curriculum related to clinical reasoning outcomes and compare it to the DID-ACT blueprint. Prioritize learning outcomes that are not yet covered but regarded as important.
  • Identify activities, resources, or teaching sessions with similar learning outcomes that might be in need for change anyway because of low evaluation results, teachers or students struggle with it. These could be suitable for adding or replacing parts with DID-ACT activities.
  • Ask teachers and students about overlaps and gaps they see in their teaching / learning of clinical reasoning and where they struggle. This could also be done by a reflection round after related teaching activities in the curriculum
  • Although ideally a longitudinal integration is aimed at, we recommend to starting small with a pilot implementation to gain experience and develop a show case.

How to teach in an interprofessional setting

  • Allow for enough time prior to the teaching for the organization and motivation / encouragement of stakeholders and participants
  • Allow for enough time and guidance during the course so that the participants from the different professions can get to know each other and their professions and discuss their different perspectives. This might mean that you need to calculate some extra time in addition to the suggested duration of the learning unit.
  • There may be a different understanding of clinical reasoning in the different health professions, so we recommend making participants aware of this. You could for example use and adapt activities from the learning units on the health profession roles to facilitate this.
  • Courses in an interprofessional setting should not come too early in the curriculum (not before professions have formed their own professional identity - however, this also depends on the aim of the course). 
  • Make sure you have enough participants from different professions. If possible, the facilitator could divide the participants in smaller groups with an equal distribution of professions. 
  • Similarly, you need an equal distribution of facilitators / facilitators from different professions.
  • Develop customized learning materials considering the different professions. If needed you can adapt the material and activities provided in the DID-ACT curriculum.

Further recommended reading:

van Diggele, C., Roberts, C., Burgess, A. et al. Interprofessional education: tips for design and implementation. BMC Med Educ 20, 455 (2020). (Link)

Skip to content