Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education
at Washington University Medical Campus

Tips for Effective Interprofessional Facilitation

  1. Be prepared
  2. Know your learners and “invest in the beginning”
  3. Create a safe and open environment
  4. Understand and respond to group dynamics
  5. Encourage diplomacy and allow for various opinions
  6. Be a positive role model for IP collaboration
  7. Monitor the situation
  8. Maintain neutrality and sensitivity
  9. Focus the conversation on IP practice and collaboration
  10. Have closure
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Be Prepared for “Flying Blind”

  • Know that you will not have access to many of the sensory skills you use in the F2F setting
  • Consider how the foundations of your F2F IPE Facilitation skills will transfer to the online environment

Don’t let technology take over

  • The more complex it is the more likely there will be “bumps” – go with the flow
  • Develop contingency plans that will allow collaboration to move forward in the face of glitches
  • Provide support and give learners adequate time to work with new applications and technology: keep tasks very simple at the start to reduce anxiety

Be explicit, be clear:

  • Expectations about homework, participation and other areas may need to be spelled out very clearly, in multiple places, multiple times
  • Simple netiquette rules (e.g. introducing yourself before you speak in a synchronous environment, avoiding use of CAPITALS in the asynchronous setting) should be addressed and consider providing ahead of time

Make sure the IPE Collaborative process gets it’s due:

  • Look to connect process elements to tasks to deepen collaboration and group development
  • Understand that learners may be drawn to the relatively safe structure of a task in the unfamiliar online world. Challenge and support them to address both task and process elements.

Expect IPE group processes may take longer:

  • Allow for extra time for learners to find their way in this new world. They will likely spend considerable time at first contributing from their own professional view points
  • Watch for signs that the group is feeling greater comfort: asking each other questions, disagreeing with each other, taking leadership
  • Foster the IP group process development through implicit (and explicit) encouragement as well as modeling
  • Consider following-up with quieter participants through 1:1 contact to support and develop approaches to build their comfort and participation

Make full use of your Co-Facilitator (if applicable):

  • If you have a co-facilitator, use them for modeling collaborative practice, content or process support, tech support and mentorship
  • Ensure you both do reflective debriefing after every module
  • If you do not have a co-facilitator, be open about your need for support from others
  • Continue to reflect to allow growth from activity to activity

Take full advantage of what the online environment offers:

  • The online setting has a lot to offer that the F2F setting does not
  • Seize every opportunity to bring in online resources, tools, videos that enhance the collaborative learning

 Created by: Elizabeth Hanna, Interprofessional Education Specialist, University Health Network