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Learning Collaboratives

A learning collaborative is a short-term learning system that brings together peers from multiple organizations to seek improvement in a focused topic area, with guidance from a coach or practice facilitator. Participants in a learning collaborative receive training in quality improvement (QI) methodologies, and they are supported in applying those methodologies with their own teams. This approach was developed by the Institute for Health Information (IHI)’s Collaborative Model for Achieving Breakthrough Improvement.

Every learning collaborative has two objectives:

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Improve health outcomes now.

Participants apply what they are learning, while they are learning it. They focus on a specific aim, chosen by their team, over a defined time period to achieve measurable results.

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Build muscle for the future.

Participants and their teams gain a deep understanding of QI methodologies and how to apply them to other goals. They learn to apply an inquisitive, scientific approach to improving care.

How is a learning collaborative different from a community of practice?

Learning Collaboratives…

  • Are time-limited (usually 6-15 months)
  • Have a defined group of participants
  • Have specific, measurable goals
  • Build knowledge through teaching, practice, and sharing

Communities of Practice…

  • Often continue indefinitely
  • Have a flexible, fluid membership
  • Address challenges as they arise
  • Build knowledge through sharing and collective problem-solving

Both are “all teach, all learn” approaches to practice-based learning

Alliance & Partner Learning Collaboratives

EPIC Learning Collaborative series

These learning collaboratives are sponsored by the Alliance for Healthier Communities, facilitated by QI coach & trainer Lorri Zagar, and supported by regional QI specialists. They are open to any staff member from an Alliance member centre.

Participants gather a QI team from their centre who work with closely with them to put QI methods into action. They identify a locally-relevant opportunity for improvement within the learning collaborative’s shared topic. Participants meet approximately monthly for didactic training and peer sharing sessions; in between these meetings, they work with their teams to identify root causes, choose targeted improvement initiatives, and then iteratively implement, measure, and refine them.

These learning collaboratives are approximately six to twelve months long. Opportunities to share improvement stories and learnings within and/or beyond our sector follow.

Contact Sara.Bhatti@AllianceON.org for more information or to sign up!

Currently underway

Foundations of Equity: Improving sociodemographic data collection and use | May 2022 - April 2023. This learning collaborative will help teams improve the completeness, timeliness, and useability of their sociodemographic data, in order to better understand the clients and populations they serve, as a foundational step to advancing health equity in their communities.

Coming soon

Stay tuned for the next topic! | Anticipated start date: May 2023.

Recently completed

Equitably Improving Cancer Screening Rates | September 2021-April 2022. This learning collaborative helped participating teams equitably reduce the cancer screening backlogs that had built up through the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the final evaluation report here.

SPIDER Learning Collaborative: Deprescribing Medications for Senior Clients

This learning collaborative is sponsored by the University of Toronto Practice-Based Research Network (UTOPIAN) and grounded in the Structured Process Informed by Data, Evidence, and Research (SPIDER) QI model. Participation contributes to research that is refining and evaluating SPIDER. Participating teams will get customized data reports.

This learning collaborative is focused on improving primary care for older adults on multiple medications, with a focus on deprescribing medications when appropriate.

Contact Jennifer.Rayner@AllianceON.org for more information.