Beyond Experiential Learning in Project-Based Quality Improvement Education
Project-based experiential learning is a defining element of quality improvement (QI) education despite ongoing challenges and uncertainties. The authors examined stakeholders' perceptions and experiences of QI project-based learning to increase understanding of factors that influence learning and project experiences. The authors used a case study approach to examine QI project-based learning in 3 advanced longitudinal QI programs, 2 at the University of Toronto and the third at an academic
... iary-care hospital. From March 2016 to June 2017, they undertook 135 hours of education program observation and 58 interviews with learners, program directors, project coaches, and institutional leaders and reviewed relevant documents. They analyzed data using a conventional and directed data analysis approach. The findings provide insight into 5 key factors that influenced participants' project-based learning experiences and outcomes: (1) variable emphasis on learning versus project objectives and resulting benefits, tensions, and consequences; (2) challenges integrating the QI project into the curriculum timeline; (3) project coaching factors (e.g., ability, capacity, role clarity); (4) participants' differing access to resources and ability to direct a QI project given their professional roles; and (5) workplace environment influence on project success. The findings contribute to an empirical basis toward more effective experiential learning in QI by identifying factors to target and optimize. Expanding conceptualizations of project-based learning for QI education beyond learner-initiated, time-bound projects, which are at the core of many QI educational initiatives, may be necessary to improve learning and project outcomes.