Training Program in Reproduction, Early Development, and the Impact on Health (REDIH): Evaluation of Year 1

Colla J. MacDonald, Douglas Archibald, Jay M. Baltz, Gerald Kidder, Hugh Clarke


Objectives: The purpose of this research was to use the W(e)Learn conceptual framework to design, deliver and evaluate the Reproduction, Early Development, and the Impact on Health (REDIH) training program for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

Methods: The REDIH program provides stipends and other support, and runs semi-annual two-day face-to-face training sessions for trainees with their mentors. During the sessions, seminars and workshops are provided, and laboratory visits are arranged for trainees. A mixed methods approach (surveys and focus groups) was used to evaluate the content, delivery, structure and service of the first year of the REDIH training program.

Results: Trainees recognized and appreciated three main improvements implemented into the second REDIH training session as a result of their feedback: (a) objectives and expectations were made clearer, (b) laboratory visits and more hands-on learning had been implemented, and (c) segregation between trainees and mentors had been greatly reduced. Trainees also had several recommendations for further improvements.

Conclusions: Trainees were overwhelmingly appreciative of and grateful for the opportunity to be involved in the REDIH project. Trainees felt their voices had been heard during the first training session and steps were taken to address their expressed concerns and needs in the second session. This study also demonstrated that evaluation is critical for program design, improvement and long-term success. Perceptions of quality were strongly linked to a fit between participants’ experiences, needs, wants, and perceived competencies; a formal evaluation process; and project administrators and the curriculum committee respecting and responding to the participants’ feedback via the evaluators.

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