A Design Pattern Language for Effective Professional Development Programs for Clinicians: A Decade of Design-based Research

By Lynn Robinson, Nina Bianco, Robert Hendy and Jaime Metcher.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic Free Download

Continuing professional development (CPD) for clinicians is necessary for individual health professionals to maintain their professional standards and for the community, who rely on their services for the delivery of evidence-based, cost-effective health services. In the late 1990s, three driving forces for using design-based research in CPD appeared. First, meta-analysis of research evidence indicated that most educational interventions were ineffective in improving clinician performance or changing practice. Secondly, the market requirements of the health industry (i.e. large scale, cost-effective programs, across a wide variety of topics and clinician groups) favoured reproducible designs over ad hoc solutions. Thirdly, emergent internet technologies were attractive candidate solutions, but increased risk compared to face to face CPD.

Over ten years of design-based research, the authors have designed, developed, delivered and studied the results of over 200 professional development programs, mostly e-learning. Approximately 12,000 health professionals each year engage. Because the authors, as a multidisciplinary design and delivery team, have had full cycle responsibility, they have had a living laboratory in which to conduct design-based research. Three major design improvement cycles have been completed.

Both the design-based research process and the resultant successful design framework will be presented. The framework covers the evidence base, design principles, design patterns and pattern language for designing and implementing professional development, in both online and face to face modes.

Keywords: Design-based Research, Continuing Professional Development, Health, e-Learning, Design Patterns, Education

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.553-570. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.187MB).

Prof. Lynn Robinson

Deputy Director, Centre for Innovation in Professional Learning, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Professor Robinson is Deputy Director and Director of Research, Centre for Innovation in Professional Learning (CIPL), The University of Queensland. She is responsible for capacity development, best practice professional development design and research. Professor Lynn Robinson graduated from the University of Queensland in 1978, after which she trained and worked in family medical practice, including as a principal of her own practice until 1990. From 1990 until 1994, Lynn held senior executive positions, first at North West Private Hospital and then as Director of Medical Services at St Andrews War Memorial Hospital. Lynn was a founding principal of Med-E-Serv (now PrimEd), leading the education research and development team as well as occupying a range of executive management positions, including CEO from 2000 until 2002. Professor Robinson has actively participated in numerous national initiatives in health education, health services research, policy development and innovations in continuing professional development for the health and financial services industries. Lynn was appointed to the academic staff of The University of Queensland in 2005, and was the Director of the Centre for Health Innovation and Solutions from 2005, before joining the newly formed team at CIPL in 2009.

Nina Bianco

Senior Consultant: Educational Design, Centre for Innovation in Professional Learning, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Nina Bianco is Senior Consultant: Educational Design, Centre for Innovation in Professional Learning (CIPL), The University of Queensland. She is responsible for capacity development and best practice professional development design. She has a Degree in Veterinary Science and a Graduate Diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics. After graduation, Nina practised as a small animal veterinarian for 8 years before studying nutrition. As a dietitian, she practised at Royal Brisbane Hospital, before moving into the pharmaceutical industry, where she worked in sales and marketing, product development and training. From 2001-2009, Nina worked at Med-E-Serv (now PrimEd), as a senior clinical educator. During her time there, she was responsible for working with industry clients and peak professional bodies on curriculum development and educational design of CPD programs. In 2009, Nina was invited to join CIPL to continue her work in developing and promoting best-practice in CPD design.

Prof. Robert Hendy

Director, Centre for Innovation in Professional Learning, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Professor Robert Hendy has more than 20 years experience in leading and managing service-based enterprises in the health, information technology and education sectors. This has included the development and revitalisation of variety of government and privately-owned enterprises ranging from start-ups to mature entities operating in multiple countries. Robert has also been involved in the bidding for and foundation of Cooperative Research Centres and the management of University based R&D centres. In 1994, he was one of the founders of Med-E-Serv Pty Ltd, a company now owned by The University of Queensland which specialises in scalable learning techniques and the development and delivery of e-learning services and products. He was Managing Director of Med-E-Serv until 2008. Robert Hendy is an experienced business manager specialising in the development and revitalisation of technology based enterprises ranging from start-ups to mature entities operating in multiple countries. Robert has also been involved in the bidding for and foundation of Cooperative Research Centres and the commercial management of University based R&D centres. Robert established the Centre for Innovation in Professional Learning in late 2009.

Jaime Metcher

Senior Technologist, Centre for Innovation in Professional Learning, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Jaime Metcher is the Senior Technologist, Centre for Innovation in Professional Learning (CIPL), The University of Queensland. From 1999 -2009, Jaime worked as Senior IT Architect and Technical Manager at Med-E-Serv (now PrimEd), where he was responsible for designing e-learning solutions that considered best practice educational design, students and users experience of the service and best practice technological architecture. While at Med-E-Serv, he produced a number of ‘world first’ applications of web technologies, in the health care and education sectors. In 2009, he was invited to join CIPL to continue his role in the design-based research team, supporting The University of Queensland’s CPD agenda.

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