Background: Quality improvement collaboratives are used to improve healthcare by various organizations. Despite their popularity literature shows mixed results on their effectiveness. A quality improvement collaborative can be seen as a temporary learning organization in which knowledge about improvement themes and methods is exchanged. In this research we studied: Does the learning approach of a quality improvement collaborative match the learning styles preferences of the individual participants and how does that affect the learning process of participants?

Methods: This research used a mixed methods design combining a validated learning style questionnaire with data collected in the tradition of action research methodology to study two Dutch quality improvement collaboratives. The questionnaire is based on the learning style model of Ruijters and Simons, distinguishing five learning style preferences: Acquisition of knowledge, Apperception from others, Discovery of new insights, Exercising in fictitious situations and Participation with others.

Results: The most preferred learning styles of the participants were Discovery and Participation. The learning style Acquisition was moderately preferred and Apperception and Exercising were least preferred. The educational components of the quality improvement collaboratives studied (national conferences, half-day learning sessions, faculty site visits and use of an online tool) were predominantly associated with the learning styles Acquisition and Apperception. We observed a decrease in attendance to the learning activities and non-conformance with the standardized set goals and approaches.

Conclusions: We conclude that the participants’ satisfaction with the offered learning approach changed over time. The lacking match between these learning style preferences and the learning approach in the educational components of the quality improvement collaboratives studied might be the reason why the participants felt they did not gain new insights and therefore ceased their participation in the collaborative. This study provides guidance for future organisers and participants of quality improvement collaboratives about which learning approaches will best suit the participants and enhance improvement work.

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BMC Health Services Research
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Weggelaar-Jansen, A. M., van Wijngaarden, J., & Slaghuis, S. (2015). Do quality improvement collaboratives’ educational components match the dominant learning style preferences of the participants?. BMC Health Services Research, 15(239). doi:0.1186/s12913-015-0915-z