A novel multimodal needs assessment to inform the longitudinal education program for an international interprofessional critical care team

Heyi Li, Yuqiang Sun, Amelia Barwise, Wenjuan Cui, Yue Dong, Aysun Tekin, Qingzhong Yuan, Lujun Qiao, Ognjen Gajic, Alexander Niven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The current global pandemic has caused unprecedented strain on critical care resources, creating an urgency for global critical care education programs. Learning needs assessment is a core element of designing effective, targeted educational interventions. In theory, multimodal methods are preferred to assess both perceived and unperceived learning needs in diverse, interprofessional groups, but a robust design has rarely been reported. Little is known about the best approach to determine the learning needs of international critical care professionals. Method: We conducted multimodal learning needs assessment in a pilot group of critical care professionals in China using combined quantitative and qualitative methods. The assessments consisted of three phases: 1) Twenty statements describing essential entrustable professional activities (EPAs) were generated by a panel of critical care education experts using a Delphi method. 2) Eleven Chinese critical care professionals participating in a planned education program were asked to rank-order the statements according to their perceived learning priority using Q methodology. By-person factor analysis was used to study the typology of the opinions, and post-ranking focus group interviews were employed to qualitatively explore participants’ reasoning of their rankings. 3) To identify additional unperceived learning needs, daily practice habits were audited using information from medical and nursing records for 3 months. Results: Factor analysis of the rank-ordered statements revealed three learning need patterns with consensual and divergent opinions. All participants expressed significant interest in further education on organ support and disease management, moderate interest in quality improvement topics, and relatively low interest in communication skills. Interest in learning procedure/resuscitation skills varied. The chart audit revealed suboptimal adherence to several evidence-based practices and under-perceived practice gaps in patient-centered communication, daily assessment of antimicrobial therapy discontinuation, spontaneous breathing trial, and device discontinuation. Conclusions: We described an effective mixed-methods assessment to determine the learning needs of an international, interprofessional critical care team. The Q survey and focus group interviews prioritized and categorized perceived learning needs. The chart audit identified additional practice gaps that were not identified by the learners. Multimodal methods can be employed in cross-cultural scenarios to customize and better target medical education curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number540
JournalBMC medical education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Critical care
  • Curricular milestones
  • Delphi
  • Entrustable professional activity
  • Intensive care
  • Learning needs assessment
  • Medical continuing education
  • Medical training
  • Q method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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