UofT Interprofessional Education University of Toronto

Evaluating Interprofessional Education

An important part of planning an Interprofessional Education initiative is deciding what to evaluate and how to conduct the evaluation.

An excellent resource is Freeth, D., Reeves, S., Koppel, I., Hammick, M., Barr, H. (2005) Evaluating Interprofessional Education: A Self-Help Guide Higher Education Academy. We recommend that you download and use this reference. We acknowledge and thank the authors for allowing us to borrow from their material below.

Another useful resource is Oandasan, I. and Reeves, S. (2005) Key elements of interprofessional education: Factors, processes and outcomes Journal of Interprofessional Care (May 2005) Supplement 1: 39-48.

First steps

How do you decide what you need or want to evaluate? Your interest could be wide-ranging or fairly narrow. Practical constraints of time and resources will have an impact. Before setting on a course of action, take some time to reflect on the following questions.
  • Who do I need to negotiate with?
    • Who are the key stakeholders and what are their interests in this specific instance of interprofessional education?
    • Who are the other evaluators and what are their interests and expertise?
  • What resources are available for the evaluation?
  • What is the allocated timeframe?
  • What is the purpose and scope of evaluation?

Determining the purposes of evaluation

Three of the most important axes of difference in relation to the aim and purpose of an evaluation are shown in the table below. (Freeth et al, 2005)

Some axes of evaluation

Developmental (formative) evaluation Or And/Or Summative impact assessment
Process focused Or And/Or Outcomes focused
For internal audiences Or And/Or For external audiences

Where should your evaluation lie on each of the axes in the table above? To guide your decisions you also need to ask yourself:

  • What is my priority and/or that of my organisation?
  • What do I feel confident to evaluate?
  • How much can I achieve in the time available to me?

Consider the format and objectives of the interprofessional education planned, and its wider context and role and answer the question: "What aspects of the interprofessional education do I want to find out more about?"

Freeth & Reeves (2004) elaborated on the work of Biggs (1994) to produce a 3P approach to evaluating IPE. According to their model, evaluation can centre on the PRESAGE (influences or constraints of the initiative), the PROCESS, or the PRODUCT. Determining which aspect is of most interest to you will help to determine the evaluation methods you might want to employ.

If you are interested in exploring PROCESS consider using qualitative methods such as observation. If you want to explore the PRODUCT or OUTCOMES of an IPE iniitiatve, a quantitative evaluation, for example using before-and-after questionnaires, might be more appropriate.

If OUTCOMES are your interest, the following chart might help you find a focus.

Classification of the possible outcomes of interprofessional education

1. Reaction Learner's views on the learning experience and its interprofessional nature.
2a. Modifications of attitudes/perceptions Changes in reciprocal attitudes or perceptions between participant groups. Changes in perception or attitude towards the value and/or use of team approaches to caring for a specific client group.
2b. Acquisition of knowledge/skills Including knowledge and skills linked to interprofessional collaboration.
3. Behavioural change Identifies individuals' transfer of interprofessional learning to their practice setting and changed professional practice.
4a. Change in organizational practice Wider changes in the organizational and delivery of care.
4b. Benefits to patients/clients Improvements in health or well-being of patients/clients.

Modified Kirkpatrick's Model of Educational Outcomes for IPE in Freeth et al. (2002, p.14).

The design of evaluation can vary depending on your purpose. Previous IPE evaluations have used a variety of designs including before-and-after, longitudinal, post-intervention, case study, randomized control trial and action research. In their review, Freeth et al. (2002) mention that the majority of published studies about IPE have used quantitative data with limited interpretation. They suggest that more interpretive, well-conducted qualitiative or mixed-mode studies would be beneficial to the field.

Validated measures include:

[ Top ]
Home About Us Contact Us Centre Activities
Centre for Interprofessional Education, University of Toronto
Copyright 2006-2010
Last Updated:
12 August 2010