The Perinatality and Early Childhood Team has decided to re-design the prenatal courses following the Accreditation Canada Report in which surveyors noted that the knowledge acquired in the Baby-Friendly Initiative classes is not retained over time. The team therefore undertook to form a learning community, with the support of an educational consultant and a professional from the Public Health Branch. This process lasted 18 months and included steps addressing the following questions:

1. What are the needs of future parents?
2. What is the most important knowledge to be acquired?
3. Which strategies should be used?
4. How can we create an environment conducive to learning?
5. Which teaching scenarios are the best for fostering learning?
6. How can the achievement of objectives be evaluated?

The team observed that its courses contained too much information, and that it was more concerned with transmitting knowledge than with meeting the needs of the clientele. A collective brainstorming on the objectives of the prenatal courses was carried out. The team wanted future parents to make informed choices, to use resources available to them, and to apply the knowledge acquired in their personal life. The team considered the principles of adult learning, and it subscribes to the notion that adults will be more motivated to learn:

•if the content is useful to them for facing their personal situation,
•if they can draw on their prior knowledge and experiences,
•if they can interact with their peers and the trainer,
•if the content is connected with emotions, and
•if they are actively involved in their learning.

The team now varies its teaching methods, provides simplified content, and encourages interactivity. The teaching scenarios were re-designed. The team is the first to seek to integrate adult learning principles into its practice, and to submit evaluations of participation in a continuous improvement process.

Contact Person:

Title: Chief, Perinatal programs

Contact information:

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