The Learning Groups (LGs) were one of the two major components of this process in moving to a more interprofessional collaborative practice. We had 4 LGs which were comprised of 24 staff from the partner agencies. Each LG had approximately 6 members and these participants had a similar focus in their daily work. For example, one LG was composed of staff who dealt mostly with children with complex needs, while another LG had those involved with the Child Care system. The selection and distribution of members allowed for some commonality among the participants in each LG which was thought to facilitate their discussions.
The LGs met regularly over the course of one year, with 8 meetings in total. Generally they met monthly except for the summer and for those months when an all-staff workshop was planned.
Each LG had a faculty facilitator who was trained by one of the Principal Investigators and a consultant to the project, both of whom had expertise in the complexity sciences methodology used. The facilitators participated in a 2-day training workshop and in several debriefing meetings with the PIs, consultant and research team via teleconference as needed. Three of the faculty facilitators were from McMaster University (School of Nursing; School of Rehabilitation Science) and the forth was a health promotion specialist with Public Health in the Guelph area. All had experience in facilitating groups.
It was helpful for the facilitators to keep notes on the issues raised in their groups and the nature of the topics discussed. This information was used to develop content for the 2nd and 3rd workshops with staff from all the agencies, as well as for the content of this toolkit.