Building Evaluation into the Development of Interprofessional Education Initiatives
Although many methods currently used to teach health professional students have not been evaluated and continue to be used without challenge, innovations need to earn their place in the curriculum. Interprofessional education (IPE) represents such an innovation. The value (or lack thereof) of an IPE initiative can best be demonstrated by robust evaluation processes (Institute of Medicine, 2015). Evaluation is important not only for indicating whether IPE programmes are effective, but also for exploring where, how, why and for what purpose (Freeth, Hammick, Reeves, Koppell, & Barr, 2005; Payler, Meyer, & Humphris, 2008. Evaluation provides the mechanism for accountability, using appropriate, justifiable methods that adequately consider the essential elements of a particular programme (in this case, interprofessionality) (Alkin & Christie, 2004). Hansen and colleagues usefully describe five key facets of various logic models of evaluation: underlying assumptions, evaluation context, evaluation activities, evaluation consequences and external factors which may limit the intended effect of the evaluation (Hansen, Alkin, & Wallace, 2013). While this chapter will focus primarily on discussing evaluation activities, these are considered throughout in relation to assumptions, context and consequences.
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