Learning Collaboratives

Learning collaborativesbring teams of peers come together to study and apply quality improvement methods to a focused topic area. Learning collaboratives are a key tool for the ACT Center team.

Learning Collaboratives

What is a learning collaborative?

A learning collaborative is a method for supporting practice change in which teams of peers and recognized experts come together to learn from each other and to apply quality improvement methods in a focused topic area. Learning collaboratives are a key approach that our team uses to optimize health care and accelerate the adoption of best practices.

Learning collaboratives generally include these features:

  • Clinical teams from across multiple organizations working together for 12-18 months
  • Expert-led learning sessions with ample time for peer-to-peer sharing
  • Tests of change between learning sessions
  • Monthly reporting and interim calls

Learning collaboratives help promote patient-centered, team-based care

From our experience, the most successful learning collaboratives: 

  • Are planned with input from patients, care teams, and topic experts
  • Employ evidence-based quality improvement and implementation science methods 
  • Foster peer learning by providing ample opportunities for participants to connect and problem solve together
  • Use participant feedback to make real-time improvements and for summative evaluation 

Our Learning Collaborative Toolkit is a product of decades of experience 

Learning collaboratives can transform health care. That’s why we collated our experience into a toolkit which provides easy access to the knowledge and tools necessary to design, execute, and evaluate a high-quality learning collaborative.

Hosting a Learning Collaborative: A Toolkit
This toolkit is meant to serve as a guide to developing and running a learning collaborative. It is a collection of suggestions, tools, and tips based on our many years of experience with learning collaboratives.

Related resources

Learn more about learning collaboratives and their history in health care on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) website: The Breakthrough Series: IHI’s Collaborative Model for Achieving Breakthrough Improvement.

Featured resource

Tips and tools to help you design, execute, and evaluate a high-quality learning collaborative

Featured project

Developing, implementing, and evaluating a learning collaborative in FQHCs across Washington state