Showcase Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

A framework for comparative evaluation of different models of IPL (#111)

Maree O'Keefe

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)



The ability to learn and work collaboratively is a common graduate attribute. As contemporary models of healthcare delivery are moving towards interprofessional collaborative practice, there is a particular need for health disciplines to embed interprofessional learning (IPL) within their currciula. Although conceptually straightforward, ‘learning from, with and about each other’ across disciplines has proven to be complex and fraught with challenges relating to sustainability and integration with core curriculum. Supported by an OLT National Teaching Fellowship, the aim of this project was to describe common models of IPL currently in use, and to develop a framework for comparative evaluation.

The initiative/practice

Fourteen deans, program directors, and leading academics from dentistry, medicine and nursing within one institution were interviewed. Interviews followed a semi structured format and explored participant perceptions of IPL, and the benefits and risks of incorporating it into their own discipline’s core curriculum. With participant consent interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and anonymised. Through institutional and national workshops together with expert consultations, common models of IPL were described and an evaluation framework for achieving more integrated and sustainable high quality IPL developed and piloted.

Method of evaluative data collection and analysis

Qualitative thematic analysis was conducted on the interview transcripts. Further analysis drew on activity theory. In terms of overall project evaluation, there was ongoing review of activities and monitoring achievement of specified outcomes. Eleven workshops were conducted nationally with over 200 attendees. An action research approach was adopted with sequential implementation of learnings from previous workshops.

Evidence of effectiveness

Through the workshops and subsequent consultations, there was general endorsement of the four identified models of common IPL activities. The evaluation framework was applied at six different universities with practical benefit reported at each site. The focus on both pedagogy and utility incorporated within the evaluation framework was particularly welcomed with immediate applicability evident through the workshop activities.

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)


Although situated in medicine, dentistry and nursing, the project outcomes have broad relevance to interdisciplinary teaching. The ability to learn and work collaboratively is an increasingly important graduate attribute and represent a set of core skills for responsive and adaptable future professionals, irrespective of future career pathways.

The presentation will include a brief overview of the four models and the evaluation framework together with some worked examples of application. Audience members will be invited to interact with the proposed model and to share their own stories of institutional change in relation to IPE or interdisciplinary collaboration. A critical incident technique will be used to support this activity that will enable a broad engagement across disciplines outside health.

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