Redesigning patient-oriented research training for online delivery

Redesigning patient-oriented research training for online delivery

When COVID-19 arrived, we needed to find a way to safely meet the growing demand for Patient-Oriented Research (POR) training—and that meant going virtual. To do this, we had to adapt the format and content of our in-person POR training, which is based on the CIHR Foundations in Patient-Oriented Research modules.

To decrease the screen time for participants, we compressed the training to cover the basics of patient-oriented research over two half-day sessions. We also tailored the content for Maritime community needs by using examples drawn from Maritime projects and emphasizing administrative data research.

“When switching to a virtual format, it was important to maintain the interactive environment that was achieved through in-person sessions. Working closely with David Wells, an MSSU Patient Partner, we’ve developed sessions that still foster co-learning through group activities,” said Caroline Jose, former MSSU Health and Patient Engagement Researcher.

This interactive approach, which played out in Zoom breakout rooms, provided a unique forum for participants to meet and to learn from each other.

“Through developing and teaching the POR training, I’ve been able to draw attention to a fundamental difference between researcher and patient perspectives on the dissemination of research results. Often the researcher’s main goal is to publish a high-quality peer-reviewed paper and then move on. Patients, on the other hand, always want to see a change in treatment, implementation into clinical practice, or improvement of protocols. Few researchers appreciate this difference,” said David Wells, MSSU Patient Partner, highlighting the importance of exchanging different perspectives during the POR training.

With the move online, we were able to offer the training on a monthly basis, making it possible for all MSSU staff members and all 2020-21 MSSU Student Award recipients to complete the POR training. We were also able to extend the training to other SPOR entities.

With the support of Diabetes Action Canada (DAC) and André Gaudreau, DAC Patient Partner, we also updated the French training materials and now offer the POR training in French every third month.

Reflecting on the value of the training, a participant in the new training, said: “I will remember this workshop as the turning point of when I stopped being on the fence regarding patient-oriented research and committed to including this approach in my future research projects.”

Upcoming MSSU POR Trainings

English sessions:

  • November 16-17, 2021 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. both days
  • January 27-28, 2022 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. both days
  • February 24-25, 2022 from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. both days

French sessions:

  • November 25-26, 2021 from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. both days
  • March 24-25, 2022 from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. both days

To learn more or register, please contact Shelley Strickland at

Redesigning patient-oriented research training for online delivery