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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Applying the knowledge gained through implementation science can support the uptake of research evidence into practice; however, those doing and supporting implementation (implementation practitioners) may face barriers to applying implementation science in their work. One strategy to enhance individuals’ and teams’ ability to apply implementation science in practice is through training and professional development opportunities (capacity-building initiatives). Although there is an increasing demand for and offerings of implementation practice capacity-building initiatives, there is no universal agreement on what content should be included. In this study we aimed to explore what capacity-building developers and deliverers identify as essential training content for teaching implementation practice.


We conducted a convergent mixed-methods study with participants who had developed and/or delivered a capacity-building initiative focused on teaching implementation practice. Participants completed an online questionnaire to provide details on their capacity-building initiatives; took part in an interview or focus group to explore their questionnaire responses in depth; and offered course materials for review. We analyzed a subset of data that focused on the capacity-building initiatives’ content and curriculum. We used descriptive statistics for quantitative data and conventional content analysis for qualitative data, with the data sets merged during the analytic phase. We presented frequency counts for each category to highlight commonalities and differences across capacity-building initiatives.


Thirty-three individuals representing 20 capacity-building initiatives participated. Study participants identified several core content areas included in their capacity-building initiatives: (1) taking a process approach to implementation; (2) identifying and applying implementation theories, models, frameworks, and approaches; (3) learning implementation steps and skills; (4) developing relational skills. In addition, study participants described offering applied and pragmatic content (e.g., tools and resources), and tailoring and evolving the capacity-building initiative content to address emerging trends in implementation science. Study participants highlighted some challenges learners face when acquiring and applying implementation practice knowledge and skills.


This study synthesized what experienced capacity-building initiative developers and deliverers identify as essential content for teaching implementation practice. These findings can inform the development, refinement, and delivery of capacity-building initiatives, as well as future research directions, to enhance the translation of implementation science into practice.


Available online first November 27, 2023

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License




Implementation Science Communications

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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