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:

Simple icon representing a line graph that trends upward
Graph - Improvement

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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Building muscle

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 and co-facilitated and supported by the Quality Improvement and Performance Leads (QIPLs) and QI coach & trainer Lorri Zagar. 

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!

#In Progress

RALI: Advancing Sociodemographic Data Collection for Equity. Our new Rapid Action Learning Intensive (RALI) collaborative learning model launched in early Spring 2024, with a focus on improving sociodemographic data. RALI is a self-paced, coach-supported online learning program. Participating teams get access to four online modules, a workbook, and the dedicated support of an Alliance Quality Improvement Coach. To learn more or sign up, email QI@AllianceON.org.

Our newest Learning Collaborative, Increasing efficiency to improve access to care, was officially launched with an informational Lunch 'n' Learn webinar in September 2023. Interested members completed readiness assessments and have attended Meet 'n' Greet sessions with our QI coaches. Learning sessions began in November, and teams will continue to work on their progress into the fall of 2024.

#Recently completed

RALI pilot. We're testing a new way to spread and scale the successful change ideas discovered in our learning collaboratives. We piloted our first Rapid Action Learning Intensive (RALI) in summer 2023, based on the Foundations of Equity learning collaborative, and we made some changes to the model based on participant feedback. 

Foundations of Equity: Improving sociodemographic data collection and use | May 2022 - April 2023. This learning collaborative helped 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. Read the final evaluation report here

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.