BC SUPPORT Unit Learning Needs Assessment


In January 2020 the BC SUPPORT Unit carried out a learning needs assessment to determine the patient-oriented learning needs of our stakeholders, after our first 4 years of operation. The report provides an analysis of the data collected through this survey. It will help guide future directions of training and capacity development planning provincially and nationally.


The 2020 training needs assessment will be useful for helping shape future training content and format particularly for SPOR SUPPORT Unit Phase II funding which will commence April 2, 2021. The survey received a large number of responses from three of the four POR stakeholder groups (Patients, Researchers, and Providers), but few responses from Decision-makers. This may be due to a combination of factors including lack of a clear engagement strategy with this group, and lack of clarity on the role (both from our side and the Decision-makers’ side). For example, while we would consider a manager within a Health Authority to be a health system Decision maker, they may not.

Regional response is important to capture in BC, because we are aware that different regions have different challenges and populations. Captured data tended to over-represent the Island, and slightly under-represent Fraser, Vancouver Coastal, and the North – but not by a significant amount. However, responses from Interior were much lower than anticipated. Given this is a large region with many unique challenges, the lack of response from this region is a concern. While the Island should be congratulated for employing a successful wide-spread communication strategy to get the word out about the survey, it 21 of 21 would appear Interior’s communication strategy was relatively ineffective. More analysis can be done on Urban/Rural preference to better understand different content/format needs.

In terms of knowledge & skills for POR, the top-ranked area for all stakeholders was research priority setting. This is prescient given the focus in Phase II on such activity and offers the Unit an opportunity to develop content and activities for all stakeholders in this area. We list below the top-ranked topic areas by stakeholder group (omitting responses from small groups). Non-traditional Researchers wanted more information about POR, while Researchers wanted more information about how to undertake POR.

  • Patients
    • Funding priorities 
    • Intro to POR
  • Researchers
    • POR design/eval
    • Priority setting
  • Providers
    • Priority setting
    • Intro to POR
    • Cultural safety/cultural humility
    • Indigenous research design
    • Teamwork

In terms of learning format, all stakeholders held similar views in terms of preferred (top) formats. Both wanted to access POR resources online, and attend a workshop or conference in-person. This is interesting because it speaks to a desire for attending a ”one-off’ event which can then be augmented by self-directed access to online resources. This was supported by responses to the training type question which again identified workshops as the preferred mode of learning. Longer training formats, such as courses received little support from any stakeholder group.

Barriers to training are important to identify and this synthesis attempted to do so for each stakeholder group. More analysis needs to be done on this data to fully understand the identified barriers. Patientidentified barriers are also helpful, but would also need more demographic information for critical analysis. For example, childcare access was ranked as a low barrier by Patients, but this result may simply be a function of intersectional differences such as age profile of responders.

View the full Analysis here (PDF)