Evaluation of the impact of a full-day continuing education training on how practitioners learn about, view, and engage in evidence-based practice
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This study examined the impact of a full-day evidence-based practice (EBP) process continuing education training on practitioners' self-efficacy pertaining EBP, attitudes toward EBP, perceived feasibility of EBP, intentions to engage in EBP, self-reported engagement in EBP, and EBP knowledge. A secondary aim was to assess the impact of post-training coaching on the aforementioned outcomes at three-month follow up. The EBP Assessment Scale (Rubin & Parrish, in press) and 10 knowledge questions were used to measure the dependent variables in this study. A pretest-posttest follow up design was replicated four times, with two of the four groups receiving the coaching component based on a coin-toss. The results of this study support the effectiveness of this EBP training model, as there was significant change and moderate to strong effect sizes for each of the dependent variables over time in the desired direction. This study did not support the effectiveness of the coaching component. However, very few practitioners participated in the coaching, and for those who did, the dose of coaching was minimal. Major implications of this study for practice and policy include: 1) This EBP Process training model should be utilized as a part of future efforts to implement EBP within the field of social work; 2) The EBP process may enjoy greater success than past efforts to integrate research and practice in social work and the allied fields; 3) Some hypothesized barriers within the EBP literature were confirmed, while others were not; and 4) This study provides additional support for multi-faceted continuing education approaches and adult learning and diffusion of innovations theories when teaching practitioners the EBP process model. Future research should concentrate on finding ways to further increase practitioner engagement in EBP; identifying ways to improve support for the implementation of EBP at the organizational and policy levels; finding ways to address the most salient barriers to EBP, such as time and resources; and more effectively study the potential impact of coaching during the implementation of EBP.