Closing the Gap Between Knowledge and Effective Action

Posted on Wednesday March 03, 2021

In any organization or business, the more knowledge you have, the more you can evoke change through education. That’s what Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph, thought before completing the Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization (KMb). She quickly discovered there was more to successfully using knowledge for change.

“Just telling people the information and assuming it will change their behavior is a very passive and ineffective method,” explains Ecker. “Effective knowledge mobilization is a science and a process captured by the three courses in the certificate with the outcome of transforming knowledge into action and creating strategies to overcome barriers to that action.”

As director of a non-profit organization, Ecker has seen many projects fail because of the gap between knowledge and action. This gap propelled her interest to study in-depth ways to achieve Equine Guelph’s goals with limited resources.

“As for most non-profit groups, there are always more ideas for good programs than there is time or money,” says Ecker. “The three courses helped to create a more strategic pathway from conception to completion of the projects. I felt I could make a difference by creating pathways of learning for horse owners to better support health, welfare and safety within the equine industry.”

The structured exercises and assignments from the KMb courses allowed Ecker to look at current projects from a different perspective. By providing a more defined pathway to identify goals, Ecker was able to assess priorities, design a more compelling strategy, and engage with stakeholders, thereby identifying other partners that may not have come across Equine Guelph’s radar in the past.

Because the subject of knowledge mobilization is very broad, the certificate is suitable for individuals from a variety of industries and backgrounds, including the social sciences, human services, and health sectors. Graduate students interested in building knowledge mobilization skills or planning to work in one of the above fields are also encouraged to enrol.

“It was well worth the time invested to go through the program, especially because I was able to choose projects that related to my work, and the online interactions were very helpful,” says Ecker. “There will always be more to learn, and the process itself is always of value.”

The Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization was developed in partnership with the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences at the University of Guelph. Designed to be completed within one year, the cohort-based program is comprised of three online courses—Inform: Processes of knowledge translation and dissemination, Engage: Building capacity to understand and use relevant evidence, and Act: Transforming Knowledge into Action.

Act: Transforming Knowledge into Action begins Monday, May 10, 2021.