Implementation Science Toolkit

Implementation Science

The work of the Next Steps NH project is grounded in Implementation Science. Implementation Science teaches us to start with the end in mind – first, determine where we want to be. Many implementation efforts fail because someone underestimated the scope or importance of preparation. It’s important to know the program you are trying to implement and what supports are needed for success.

Implementation research is the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of evidence-based practices into routine practice, and hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of . . . services and care (Eccles & Mittman, 2006).

picture of Karen Blase in the video Karen Blase gives a 1:29-minute overview of applying implementation science in education.

The Basics of Implementation Science (first page of PDF)The Basics of Implementation Science (PDF, 2015, 28 slides) is a PowerPoint presentation that reviews key elements of implementation science, from the 2015 IDEA Data Center Interactive Institute.

Implementation Drivers: Assessing Best Practices - first page of PDFImplementation Drivers: Assessing Best Practices (PDF, 2015, 52 pages) is a publication of the National Implementation Science Network. There are three types of implementation drivers: competency, organization, and leadership. Implementation drivers come into play once you have a well-defined change you want to make.

First page of Implementation Stages Action Plan template
A good action plan includes:

  • Specific tasks to be completed
  • Identification of person(s) responsible for completion
  • Timeline for completion

You can apply action planning to each stage of implementation: Implementation stages action plan template (PDF, 4 pages, 2013)

Other places to learn more about Implementation Science:

Check out resources from the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN). There is a reference page with well-organized pages to read through: Learn Implementation. There’s also training modules with a combination of videos and reading: Get Started/Get Better with Implementation.

The State Personnel Development Network maintains a resource library for Implementation Science & Scaling Up.

Overview videos about implementation science

These videos will help demystify implementation science and give you an understanding of some important fundamental concepts, in nice short chunks! The first one is a high-level look at the art and science of implementation, from the Ontario Center of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, in 3:54-minutes.

The following five videos were funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Each one succinctly captures an important piece of implementation science.






Participatory Adult Learning Styles (PALS)

To put implementation science theory into practice, we’re using the Participatory Adult Learning Styles (PALS) model for the training and coaching we provide our cohort schools. PALS is an evidence-based practice grounded in Implementation Science, developed by Carl J. Dunst, PhD and Carol M. Trivette, PhD.

PALS provides a structure to apply adult learning methods associated with positive learner outcomes. There are six characteristics:

1. Introduce
2. Illustrate

3. Practice
4. Evaluate

Informed Understanding
5. Reflection
6. Mastery

PALS Strategy diagram showing flow

Slide 28 from Adult Learning Principles and Practices presentation. Click image to download the full presentation.

Adult Learning Principles and Practices is a Powerpoint presentation prepared by Carol Trivette for a webinar with the State Personnel Development Grantees, U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, January 11, 2012. (PPT download, 61 slides)

No intervention practice, no matter its evidence base, is likely to be adopted and used if the implementation methods used to teach or train practitioners to use the practice are themselves ineffective. Therefore, concern for the characteristics of implementation practices that are associated with optimal learner and practitioner outcomes should be of paramount importance… (Dunst and Trivette, 2009)

Description of the PALS characteristics

Description of the PALS Characteristics, from a 2014 training provided to the Next Steps NH project team by Carol Trivette and Robin Howse (used with permission)

Click image for full-size view.