A Step-by-Step Template to Guide Your Custom Knowledge Exchange Plan
Evidence Exchange Network (EENet), located at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), supports knowledge exchange among stakeholders across Ontario. With a strong focus on translating evidence to practice, its 14 Communities of Interest (CoI) were encouraged to develop knowledge exchange (KE) plans. Some did so using the Scientist Knowledge Translation Training Knowledge Translation Planning TemplateTM[i], developed by Dr. Melanie Barwick and available in the NCCMT Registry of Methods and Tools.
The KT Planning TemplateTM takes users through 14 issues to help them develop KE plans. While they were not required to, many CoIs used the KT Planning TemplateTM as it is "one of the more rigorous, comprehensive frameworks for knowledge exchange planning available," according to Keri West, Knowledge Broker for EENet.
The KT Planning TemplateTM prompts people through a step-by-step planning process, useful for groups that have varying levels of experience in planning knowledge exchange. The beauty of the KT Planning TemplateTM is its flexibility. The resulting plan is easily adapted to the needs of the project, and can take many forms - a report, work plan or table, for example. Going through the planning process helps groups operationalize imprecise KE concepts. The end product includes actionable steps, bringing the KE plan to life.
The KT Planning TemplateTM encourages KE thinking from the start of the project, an important element in its effectiveness. It also assists in the development of key messages and strategies to disseminate project findings, critical to maximizing the impact of any project.
Even the best tools have drawbacks. According to Keri, one of the challenges experienced by the EENet team in using the KT Planning TemplateTM is its lack of clarity regarding the format of the final product, a counterpoint to its flexibility. It really is left up to the user. Also, because it was originally designed to support research, Keri found that the language used in the template may not resonate in a non-research context. Finally, she notes that it would be helpful to prompt users to anticipate and then mitigate challenges, and to provide more guidance to users in the implementation section.
The language and layout issues will be addressed in a new version of the KT Planning TemplateTM, coming later this year. Watch "Recent Updates to the Registry of Methods and Tools" on the NCCMT home page for the update. For those interested in learning more about how to apply the template, a two-day training course is also available.
[i] Barwick, M., Butterill, D., Lockett, D.M., Buckley, L., & Goering, P. (2005). Scientist knowledge translation training manual (SKTT). Toronto, ON: The Hospital for Sick Children / Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.