Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Medical Education and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Innovative teaching methods for capacity building in knowledge translation

Hayfaa A Wahabi* and Lubna A Al-Ansary

Author Affiliations

Sheikh Bahmdan Chair for Evidence-Based Healthcare and Knowledge Translation, King Saud University, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:85  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-85

Published: 14 October 2011



In some current healthcare settings, there is a noticeable absence of national institutions committed to the synthesis and use of evidence in healthcare decision- and policy-making. This absence creates a need to broaden the responsibilities of healthcare providers to include knowledge brokering and advocacy in order to optimize knowledge translation to other stakeholders, especially policy-makers. However, this process requires practitioners and researchers to acquire certain types of knowledge and skills. This article introduces two innovative methods for capacity building in knowledge translation (KT).


During a workshop aimed at preparing 21 trainers in evidence-based medicine, two innovative methods were used: (1) debate and (2) a knowledge translation project (KTP). The main objective of the debates approach was to strengthen participants' critical thinking abilities by requiring them to search for and appraise evidence and defend their arguments. The KTP was used to introduce participants to the essential steps of knowledge translation and to suggest an extended role for healthcare practitioners, i.e., using evidence to manage not only individual patients but also to a community of patients. Participants' performances were assessed according to a pre-designed scheme. At the end of the workshop, participants' opinions and experiences with the innovative teaching methods were evaluated based on their answers to a questionnaire and the results of small-group discussions.


The participants performed well in both the debate and KTP methods. During post-workshop group discussions, they indicated that the debate approach had added a new dimension to their evidence-based medicine skills by adding purpose and motivation. However, they felt that their performances would have been better if they had been offered practical demonstrations of how to conduct the debate. The participants indicated that the KTP enhanced their understanding of the relationships between evidence and implementation, and motivated them to investigate public health problems in addition to individual patient problems. However, some participants maintained that these issues fell outside the scope of their role as doctors.


Debates and evidence implementation through KTP are generally well accepted by healthcare practitioners as methods by which they can improve their skills in KT.