Research done in isolation can often miss critical connections and applications, especially in the adoption phase, when much can be ‘lost in translation’ between the researchers and the end users. Knowledge translation (KT), or the process of facilitating that transfer of information, helps make sure that the research being done and the resulting solutions and products are easily understood, relevant, and useful.
One way to make sure that a project is relevant is to follow the integrated knowledge translation approach, which is to include stakeholders throughout the entire project, from planning to sharing the final results. A specific method within this approach is participatory curriculum development (PCD). The Healthy Community Living project is a successful example of PCD in action.
Recently, Director of Knowledge Translation Tracy Boehm Barrett submitted an entry in the 6th Edition KT Casebook called “Cocreating With Stakeholders Through Participatory Curriculum Development.” The KT Casebook is a feature on The Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR)’s website that highlights the KT activities of NIDILRR grantees, allowing grantees to learn from each other, gain new ideas and connections, and learn about new KT strategies.
“PCD is an inclusive, flexible, and ongoing process,” said Boehm Barrett. “The people who participate are constantly evolving, learning to respect one another, and working together as they make substantial contributions to create a curriculum.”
Healthy Community Living (HCL) is a national program that has brought together organizational leaders, Centers for Independent Living staff and consumers, and researchers to develop Independent Living skills and health and wellbeing programming that is innovative, adaptive and inclusive. Healthy Community Living contains two workshops: Community Living Skills, and Living Well in the Community (previously titled Living Well with a Disability). HCL is a development project funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).
The casebook entry describes how the Healthy Community Living team used PCD to ensure that key partners were involved and engaged throughout the development of the workshops. It lists the tools used to communicate with partners as well as describing the different integrative knowledge translation activities that took place over the five years of the project, such as in-person orientations, weekly webinars, and a regular use of telecommunication methods (including social media, email, and instant messaging).
Some of the lessons learned by the HCL team over the course of the program:
- Building relationships is key
- The most successful tools and activities:
- build trust
- encouraged open and frequent communication
- promoted sharing ideas and content
- connected partners to each other
- There are challenges to working remotely (the HCL partners are located across the United States) as well as over the extended time period of the project (5+ years)
The casebook entry builds on a webinar presentation Boehm Barrett and RTC:Rural Project Director Tannis Hargrove gave as part of KTDRR’s annual online conference in November 2018, “Engaging Ways to Engage Stakeholders.” The presentation is archived, and can be viewed on the 2018 KT Conference archive page. Boehm Barrett and Hargrove’s presentation was on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
As the HCL project enters its fourth year, the project team continues to work with CIL staff, consumers, and other disability stakeholders to evaluate the workshops. HCL is set to launch in late 2019.
To learn more about these workshops visit the Healthy Community Living website, where you can find more information and sign up for the Healthy Community Living eNewsletter.
To learn more about RTC:Rural’s Knowledge Translation efforts, visit the Knowledge Translation page on the RTC:Rural website. For another example of a collaborative RTC:Rural KT project, see “Knowledge Translation in Action: Making Research More Accessible.”