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Current knowledge translation (KT) training initiatives are primarily focused on preparing researchers to conduct KT research rather than on teaching KT practice to end users. Furthermore, training initiatives that focus on KT practice have not been rigorously evaluated and have focused on assessing short-term outcomes and participant satisfaction only. Thus, there is a need for longitudinal training evaluations that assess the sustainability of training outcomes and contextual factors that may influence outcomes.
We evaluated the KT training initiative “Foundations in KT” using a mixed-methods longitudinal design. “Foundations in KT” provided training in KT practice and included three tailored in-person workshops, coaching, and an online platform for training materials and knowledge exchange. Two cohorts were included in the study (62 participants, including 46 “Foundations in KT” participants from 16 project teams and 16 decision-maker partners). Participants completed self-report questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews at baseline and at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after the first workshop.
Participant-level outcomes include survey results which indicated that participants’ self-efficacy in evidence-based practice (F(1,8.9) = 23.7, p = 0.001, n = 45), KT activities (F(1,23.9) = 43.2, p < 0.001, n = 45), and using evidence to inform practice increased over time (F(1,11.0) = 6.0, p = 0.03, n = 45). Interviews and focus groups illustrated that participants’ understanding of and confidence in using KT increased from baseline to 24 months after the workshop. Interviews and focus groups suggested that the training initiative helped participants achieve their KT project objectives, plan their projects, and solve problems over time. Contextual factors include teams with high self-reported organizational capacity and commitment to implement at the start of their project had buy-in from upper management that resulted in secured funding and resources for their project. Training initiative outcomes include participants who applied the KT knowledge and skills they learned to other projects by sharing their knowledge informally with coworkers. Sustained spread of KT practice was observed with five teams at 24 months.
We completed a longitudinal evaluation of a KT training initiative. Positive participant outcomes were sustained until 24 months after the initial workshop. Given the emphasis on implementing evidence and the need to train implementers, these findings are promising for future KT training.