Answer to "What learning approaches and activities are used in IPE?"


The learning approaches and interprofessional learning activities should be developed in order for learners to be able to achieve the defined learning outcomes/competencies of the IPE.  Planning will also be influenced by the number and type of health professionals/students involved and other logistical issues such as timetabling, co-location and the availability of suitable clinical placements.  Learning activities should fit within the definition of IPE – learning with, from and about.  Thus, IPL should be interactive, though it may be informed through lectures particularly to orientate learners to the local health system, and the roles and responsibilities of health and social care professionals within that system.


Two examples of successful IPE longitudinal programmes that are based on three levels of learning are:

  • Griffiths University (Australia): 1. Health professions literacy; 2. Simulated experience; 3. Real patient/clinical experience.

  • University of British Columbia (Canada): 1. Exposure (to other health professionals and students); 2. Immersion (interactive experiences on placements); 3. Mastery (incorporation of IP concepts into daily professional practice through postgraduate experiences and certificate).


Examples of approaches/activities:

  • Small group discussions either online or face-to-face focussing on the role and responsibilities of health professionals and patient/client cases

  • Simulations based in secondary care, where team-based approaches are required. Typically teams are newly formed for specific tasks such as responses to cardiac arrests

  • Larger scale disaster scenarios involving multiple patients and professionals

  • Community-based home visits for mixed groups of learners and patients with long-term conditions

  • Community based service programs assisted or led by interprofessional student teams

  • Informal learning through working together


ANDERSON, E.S., and THORPE, L.N. (2014). Students improve patient care and prepare for professional practice: An interprofessional community-based study.  Medical Teacher 36,495-504.

BOET, S., BOULD, M.D., BURN, C.L., and REEVES, S. (2014).  Twelve tips for a successful interprofessional team-based high-fidelity simulation education session.  Medical Teacher 36, 853-857.

CHARLES, G., BAINBRIDGE, L., and GILBERT, J. (2010).  The University of British Columbia model of interprofessional education.  Journal of Interprofessional Care, 24, 9-18.

DJIKIC, M., ADAMS, J., FULMER, T., SZYLD, D., LEE, S. and OH, S-Y.  (2015). E-learning with teammates: A novel approach to interprofessional education.  Journal of Interprofessional Care, 29,476-482.

HAMMICK, M., OLCKERS, L. and CAMPION-SMITH, C. (2009).  Learning in interprofessional teams: AMEE Guide No. 38. Medical Teacher 31, 1-12.

OANDASAN, I., and REEVES. S. (2005).  Key elements for interprofessional education.  Part 1: The learner, the educator and the learning context. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 19:sup 1, 21-38.

(While older, this paper is a good overview of learning and teaching approaches.) 

NISBET, G., LINCOLN, M., and DUNN, S. (2013).  Informal interprofessional learning: and untapped opportunity for learning and change within the workplace. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 27, 469-475.

TEODORCZUK, A., KHOO, T.K., MORRISSEY, S., and ROGERS, G. (2016). Developing interprofessional education: Putting theory into practice. The Clinical Teacher, 13, 7-12.  (This paper describes the Griffith IP curriculum.)