Penn's Implementation Science Institute and the Benefits of an Online Format

May 10, 2022
By OLI Team

Sometimes Online Allows for Greater Reach and Better Engagement in Adult Learners  

There are just some cases where online learning is a more suitable modality for engaging learners, particularly adult learners hoping to incorporate a new skillset in their toolkit. That’s exactly the lesson that the co-sponsored Masters in Health Policy and Penn Implementation Science Center Implementation Science Institute learned during the pandemic while delivering the very popular four-day institute.  

Originally designed to be delivered in-person, the Implementation Science Institute had to shift to online delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program administrators quickly learned that the online modality provided increased flexibility for participants to schedule their days around the Institute. Despite not being in-person, learners were able to utilize videos, virtual didactics, and discussion boards to connect with their peers and access core Institute lessons and activities.  With the success of this shift, and as many universities began returning to in-person teaching, questions around the future of the Implementation Science Institute arose.  

Working with an online format, the Implementation Science Institute was now able to provide asynchronous content and selective synchronous elements to all participants. This effectively expanded its reach and influence beyond its past in-person formats. It also provided greater and more consistent interaction with evidence-based practices and interventions, virtual office hours, and applications to project-based learning. Online teaching also allows for more expedited expansion of learning tools and resources to reach even more students. The potential to scale-up becomes even more obtainable when operating virtually. The primary focus of the program is to provide participants with the tools to design and execute rigorous implementation science research. There is a large demand for this skillset nationally, and making the institute virtual allows the team to accommodate a growing number of researchers and trainees who wish to gain this expertise across the world. 

The Implementation Science Institute has already trained over 200 people using online methods and has received stellar feedback reporting high levels of satisfaction. With this transition in modality the Implementation Science Institute continues to follow all required university, state, and federal guidelines for online learning. As we’ve learned from the past couple of years, online learning has become and will continue to be Penn Medicine's Implementation Science Institute’s optimal platform for both the course developers and learners.