UNC-CH Spring Doctoral Seminar CONNECT Workshop Discussion

CONNECT staff will be facilitating a workshop during your doctoral seminar on February 16, 2012 to help familiarize you with FREE online modules and resources that can be easily infused into existing professional development efforts. The workshop will also provide a hands-on opportunity for you to learn about an instructional design sequence for PD that supports the close coupling of clinical practice and content and aids in building critical thinking and evidence-based decisions in learners.

In order for us to best meet your needs, please complete the following FOUR tasks before your class:

(1) Take the quick poll

(2) Answer the following question by clicking on the "Add New Comment" button at the bottom of the screen:

"What challenges do you have or do you envision in embedding evidence-based practice into the professional development you provide?"

(3) Watch a 4-minute video of an overview of CONNECT Modules' evidence-based practice approach to professional development by clicking HERE

(4) Go to CONNECT Module 3: Communication for Collaboration by clicking HERE. Spend time exploring each of the steps in the CONNECT 5-Step Learning Cycle:

Post-workshop activity
Create an action plan about your next steps that you will take following this workshop:
  • How are you thinking about using the modules?
  • Who else might you share the information with?
  • What would support your efforts?
Post your next steps by clicking on 'Reply' to your "dilemma" post or by clicking on "Add comment" button below.
EBP_Crais_Winton_Presentation.pdf10.97 MB
EBP_scenarios.pdf31.18 KB


EDUC 862

2. None. There is a wealth of knowledge and resources in my field in terms of reserch. Incorporating evidenced based practice into the curriculum has been extremely successful and students are taught early on to incorporate evidenced based research into their practice.

One challenge that I have

One challenge that I have found when embedding evidence based practice into professional development is the gap between what is realistic and what is practical.  A lot of evidence based practices seem really great on paper, but they may not be practical for a lot of teachers.  The other challenge I have noticed is the lack of implementation steps provided during professional development.  The evidence based practice might be great and practical, but if easy to follow implementation steps are not provided, there is a good probability that the EBD may not get implemented or may not get implemented correctly.   


I agree with what many of you have commented - that the most difficult aspect is closing the gap between the research and the application.  Having worked as a teacher and with teachers, I know how difficult it is to change up what you have been doing - what works for you at the moment.  I think as researchers we need to involve practitioners as much as possible in order to find out what they are already doing and what we can provide as alternatives/tweaks that will fit smoothly into their already established routines and practices.  This is an idealized notion, one that doesn't happen often enough.  In the real world, it is difficult to organize this, but I think we don't have to think too big - practical hands-on examples during professional development and getting feedback from teachers about what they are doing and what they would like before-hand are good strategies. 

Question 2

"What challenges do you have or do you envision in embedding evidence-based practice into the professional development you provide?"
A challenge I've had is summarizing a great deal of evidence-based practice into useful chunks-- and making it all fit into one class period. I've had to cut out a lot of good information from class lessons in the past due to lack of time, and it can be hard deciding what's okay to cut out, and what's the most important information to keep. I would also like to know how to teach evidence-based practices to various audiences (modify the content based on the audience). For example, I would like future professionals to know how to read, evaluate, and instruct others in evidence-based practices. I would like parents to be able to understand evidence-based practices, as well-- although they might not have the same access to databases, etc., that professionals do (and may or may not have the training to adequately interpret the information). For this reason, I'd like to teach professionals to know how to provide EBP information to parents in a way that is helpful. Although, I wonder how to instruct professionals what to do if parents "don't believe" the evidence or are strongly in favor of a "non-evidence based practice." I also imagine it could be challenging to motivate professionals to self-learn about evidence-based practice-- e.g., look up the information on their own, after they have graduated and are working.


I think one of the challenges to incoporating EBP into PD is finding practical and affordable ways to link practitioners to the research base.  Time and access are critical to reviewing evidence.  PD seminars or workshops often summarize evidence, but practitioners still need to be enabled to access the cited evidence on their own (and especially to share with others).  I also think that we need to spend more time discussing how we combine clinical wisdom with evidence, the processes of clinical reasoning, and the legitamite difficulties of looking at specific studies (and their contexts), generalizing principles, and then applying to specific situations again. 

Agree with Anne...

I agree whole-heartedly with Anne.  The challenge of embedding evidence-based practice into professional development for teachers lies in the presentation of the material and making sure that there is not too large of a gap between "evidence based practice" and what school systems are expecting/requiring of teachers.  

system expectations

I like the way you phrased that. I think that often, it's not that teachers or practitioners are resistant to change, but that the pressures on them make change really difficult. I think maybe instead of changing the teachers and practitioners (and families), we also need to change the context, and provide them with more real, meaningful resources and support.

Taking the time to ensure you

Taking the time to ensure you are knowledgeable about the newest EBP so that it can be explained at a level that is easily understood.  Having a strong understanding of the topic and it's effect is important for emphasizing the need to implement the approach and will hopefully promote discussion.  Like Anne commented, people are resistant to change.  While reminding the audience of their duty of provide services that are research based it will be more likely to be implemented if suggestions/guidance for implementing are provided in the PD.  This is also hard because of the varienty of audience and the diversity in populations they may work with or the severity of the issue or child's impairment.

I think the primary

I think the primary difficulty in my field is not our ability to focus on evidence-based practice in professional development, but a lack of practitioners actually adopting those practices.

I think one of the major

I think one of the major challenges of incorporating EBP into PD would be making sure that your information is the most current --- new studies brings new information, and keeping your PD valid would mean making sure that you are providing the most up to date information. In addition, I think always making sure that your professional development is relevant to your audience is necessary--- It is great if your are using evidence-based practices, but remembering who is your audience is important too. 

use of professional development -ebp

One of the components of the modules that I like is that they recognize the value of both personal experience and traditional research as sources of "evidence".  One of the challenges I encounter is when the two sources conflict how to encourage caregivers and teachers to evaluate and select the best information for their practices.

Evidence based practice is an

Evidence based practice is an elusive term.  In order to receive this label, large randomized control studies must have been completed and many interventions do not lend themselves to this kind of study or do not have the funding to pursue the large study.  While using cites like What Works Clearinghouse is helpful in identifying evidence based practices, they don't tell the whole story and often teachers are required to use programs that are not evidence-based, so there is a challenge of instruction educators on how to supplement required programs with evidence-based practices.

Hi Joy, I think you are

Hi Joy, I think you are thinking too ridgidly about EBP!  The traditional heirarchy that I've always seen does place RCTs at the top (actually, I think metaanalysis is higher), but there are other forms of research that contribute to evidence as well they are just "less" valuable according to those standards. But, I have seen more recently that some researchers are suggesting different kinds of heirarchies. I have a good article from the OT literature for you if you're interested. -Anne


I was going to write a comment rather than responding to one, but you two BOTH make really great points that fit with mine. I think the main barrier I run into is that much of the evidence is communicated in either jargony articles or presentations that no one remembers. I'm not sure that Joy is the one thinking rigidly about 'evidence,' I think that message (RCTs good, everything else weak) is communicated FAR more often than the message that evidence comes in many forms and should fit the question. Joy makes a really good point about the disconnect between what we call high quality evidence and what's actually practical, and Anne makes a really good point about the broad need to reconsider the ways we evaluate (and rank) evidence. Right now I'm in love with the idea of succinct summaries of articles and projects, in plain English, that are accessible to families and practitioners, because I think in addition to conducting the research, it really is part of our responsibility to communicate it in realistic ways. That means translation into practice, but also considering our communication style. We write so much for ourselves and our academic communities. We're pressured to do that - it's the path to tenure and academic glory. Ultimately, I suspect that it's that path that we're going to have to work to shape.

"plain English"

I kicked myself after I hit publish, because I should have never used the phrase "plain English." We need to communicate in the languages that families and practitioners use, which often means making evidence accessible in other languages as well.