Improvement Science in Practice: Finding Solutions Through Iterative Testing℠


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Improvement Science in Practice: Finding Solutions Through Iterative Testing℠ is an intermediate-level course that provides hands-on, contextualized experiences with improvement learning through iterative testing for individuals and small teams seeking to deepen their knowledge of and skill in practicing improvement science methods. Building on the conceptual foundations that are developed in Carnegie’s Introduction to Networked Improvement Basics, Improvement Science in Practice focuses on building participants’ skills and experience with running Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles to test and iterate changes designed to improve specific outcomes.

Learning Objectives

In this course, participants will:

  1. Draw upon an established understanding of the problem, a theory of practice improvement, and research to identify and prototype potentially high leverage changes.
  2. Design tests of change.
  3. Practice executing, testing, and refining changes.
  4. Practice documenting the PDSA results and learnings.
  5. Process PDSA learnings to inform future testing cycles (adopt, adapt, again, abandon).
  6. Build knowledge of how to move up a ramp of tests to promote change at scale.

Intended audience

This is an intermediate level course for people who seek to develop concrete skills for learning through testing. To be successful in this course, participants must have previous experience with problem investigation and a theory of practice improvement or driver diagram. Participants should have completed Introduction to Networked Improvement Basics or have equivalent experience prior to enrolling.

Course Details

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Course Structure

  • A 2-day, virtual workshop to launch the course that includes interactive activities and small group breakout sessions. During the workshop, participants will work with others in small, problem-focused groups.
  • Cycles of independent testing of changes in the participant’s local context, and iterating on those changes in collaboration with a small group.
  • Small-group coaching sessions facilitated by Carnegie facilitators. Coaching sessions will be spaced out over six weeks following the 2-day workshop.
  • Mid-course and end-of-course webinars.
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Team Structure

This course is designed for individual participants or small teams. As they register, participants will have the opportunity to prioritize several problem areas as the focus for their improvement work. Those focus areas will then be used to organize participants into small coaching groups that will collaborate throughout the course.

A menu of problem areas will be developed for each cohort. Teams who enroll together and are part of an improvement team or NIC with a developed Theory of Practice Improvement (or driver diagram) may request to use that as their area of focus for course activities.

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Time Required

Following the introductory intensive workshop, participants should expect to spend 1-2 hours a week planning and running tests of change, reflecting on the results, and preparing for coaching sessions and the final webinar. A mid-course webinar and several small group, 1-hour coaching sessions will be scheduled between the opening workshop and the final webinar.


Contact us if you have questions about the course.