Closing the gap: the development of a knowledge translation course designed to improve evidence-based clinical practice for school professionals
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Knowledge translation includes the steps of researching and establishing best practices, communicating those findings to stakeholders and consumers, and then using that information effectively in practice (Straus, Tetroe, & Graham, 2009). Knowledge translation usually takes the form of conducting research, creating systematic reviews and other research articles, and publishing in academic journals, all of which are not enough to guarantee that knowledge will actually be used in clinical practice (Straus et al., 2009). Therefore, there needs to be a more explicit process for improving knowledge translation to increase the use of evidence-based interventions in clinical practice (Straus et al., 2009). This doctoral project will focus on improving knowledge translation as it applies to occupational therapy researchers disseminating research knowledge to school-based professionals and will further explore the barriers both occupational therapy researchers and school professionals face with knowledge translation. The proposed solution is an online course titled Closing the Gap: A Knowledge Translation Course Designed to Improve Evidence-Based Clinical Practice for School Professionals. This course will be developed in order to address the current gap between knowledge translation and clinical practice; and to improve research utilization in occupational therapy in school settings in particular. This six-week course utilizes an online learning environment through teachable.com in order to increase accessibility of information to course participants and to allow for weekly self-paced learning to promote participant success. The course will include multiple professional development activities, such as small discussion work through an online discussion board, case studies, and problem-based learning as these are proven methods to effectively promote confidence with integrating research into clinical practice (Anaby, Korner-Bitensky, Law, & Cormier, 2015; Cahill, Egan, Wallingford, Huber-Lee, and Dess-McGuire, 2015). The online course described above aims to improve evidence clinical practice in school settings by increasing direct communication between the school professionals and researchers, by having school professionals practice applying research to relevant clinical cases, and by having researchers practice communicating research findings to other professionals. This online course is critically needed in order to make knowledge translation more intentional, to improve evidence-based clinical practice, and to achieve AOTA’s 2025 Vision of being an effective and evidence-based profession.