Development of an entrustable professional activities (EPAs) framework for small group facilitators through a participatory design approach

Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, Karen D. Könings, Mohamed Al-Eraky, Mona Hmoud AlSheikh, Jeroen J.G. van Merrienboer

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Background: Recent reports suggest that faculty development (FD) programs need a structured framework to design training and assess improvement in teaching performance of participants. Entrustable professional activities (EPAs) can serve as a novel framework to plan and conduct structured FD programs, and to assess the proficiency of small group facilitators after training. Objective: The researchers aimed to develop an EPAs framework for small group facilitators. Design: In March 2019, three workshops were organized to develop the EPAs framework by using a participatory action design approach. An orientation workshop was conducted to train the participating students and teachers. Then, a design workshop was conducted to develop the EPA framework, where data were collected from three sources: scribe notes, audio recordings, and field charts. Thematic analysis was performed, and consensus was sought from participants on the extracted professional tasks and competencies in the consensus workshop. In the third workshop, the participants also mapped professional tasks with relevant competencies. Results: A total of 15 teachers and 15 studentsf participated in the co-design process. Through a robust thematic analysis of multisource data, 57 professional tasks and 52 competencies emerged, which were converged into 11 tasks and 17 competencies after removing duplicating and non-qualifying professional tasks and competencies. Finally, a consensus was achieved on nine tasks and 12 competencies. Conclusions: The proposed EPAs framework can serve as a road map for longitudinal training and entrustment of small group facilitators. It can also guide small group facilitators in their continuous professional development and in building their teaching portfolios.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1694309
JournalMedical Education Online
Issue number1
Early online date26 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Entrustable professional activities
  • faculty development
  • small group teaching
  • teacher evaluation
  • teaching competence

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