Interventions to Improve Trainers' Learning and Behaviors for Educating Health Care Professionals Using Train-the-Trainer Method: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2021 Jul 1;41(3):202-209. doi: 10.1097/CEH.0000000000000375.


Introduction: Train-the-trainer (TTT) programs are frequently used to facilitate knowledge dissemination. However, little is known about the effectiveness of these programs. Therefore, we sought to assess the impact of TTT programs on learning and behavior of trainers for educating health and social professionals (trainees).

Methods: Guided by the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care, we conducted a systematic review. We searched 12 databases until April 2018 and extracted data according to the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome model. Population was defined as trainers delivering training program to health care professionals, and the intervention consists in any organized activity provided by a trainer. There were no restrictive comparators, and outcomes were knowledge, attitude, skill, confidence, commitment, and behavior of trainers. We estimated the pooled effect size and its 95% confidence interval using a random-effect model. We performed a narrative synthesis when meta-analysis was not possible.

Results: Of 11,202 potentially eligible references, we identified 16 unique studies. Studies were mostly controlled before-and-after studies and covered a unique training intervention. Targeted trainers were mostly nurses (n = 10) and physicians (n = 5). The most frequent measured outcome was knowledge (n = 12). TTT programs demonstrated significant effect on knowledge (Standardized mean deviation = 0.58; 95% CI = 0.11-1.06; I2 = 90%; P < .01; 10 studies). No studies measured trainers' ability to deliver the training program.

Discussion: TTT programs may improve the knowledge of trainers. However, the heterogeneity and small number of studies hamper our ability to draw conclusions that are more robust.