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In this section, we think about the final part of the plan, do, reflect, review cycle (D’Eon, 2004), and about evaluation. How do we know that interprofessional learning (IPL) works? And how can we measure its effectiveness?

When we think about evaluation generally, the first point is to return to what we set out to do originally, what were our learning outcomes, broad curriculum aims or goals? This type of evaluation considers how well a course or learning intervention ‘does what it says on the tin’. One issue for IPL is that although the activities may be carried out interprofessionally, there may not be an explicit articulation of IPL goals, aims or learning outcomes. And we cannot evaluate what isn’t stated. This raises the question of how to embed IPL into course design and the fabric of a written, formal and stated curriculum when IPL is often pushed into the informal and even the hidden curriculum.

Another form of evaluation takes a wider view and looks at the impact of learning on the learners’ experience, or even more widely on service. The drivers for introducing IPL into the curriculum include improving collaboration and teamworking in practice, improving interprofessional communications and understanding, and ultimately improving patient care. So evaluation here would be looking at more long-term implications and impact of IPL activities. Of course, the further the learning intervention is from the changes seen (in time, geography or professional development), the harder it is to attribute the change to a specific learning intervention or approach. 

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