Northwest MHTTC Learning Communities

Building Connections: Virtual Learning Communities

decorative image

Our Approach (PDF Version)

After supporting the workforce during the initial year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew staff and teams were continuing to face numerous stressors. We thought deeply about how we could offer learning opportunities that brought more connection to the experience, even though people were still under duress. We wanted to provide opportunities to learn new skills and also process this learning over time with interactive sessions drawing upon principles of adult learning and including follow-up reminders after each series concluded.

We designed and implemented several learning communities to address regional needs in an engaging and interactive longitudinal learning experience. Such learning communities represent a promising workforce development model that promotes skill development through interpersonal interactions and shared learning. Results from our tailored evaluations show that these virtual learning communities were well-received and served to provide interactive learning opportunities for participants.

Image of a computer showing multiple people participating in a webinar

We designed our Learning Communities with the following goals:

  • Share practical skills via live, virtual experiences including didactic segments and breakout sessions
  • Equitably reach our Region 10 States' workforce and leadership
  • Facilitate connection among participants through engaging online tools, resource pages and supporting presenters
  • Offer post-series tailored communications so concepts are reinforced
  • Evaluate the impact of these through tailored evaluations across projects

The words "making it stick: tools to continue your learning" against a background with sticky notes

Our model strives to improve each time paying attention to:

  • Learning objectives, goals and themes that surfaced for each session
  • Improving our approach with collaborative planning with presenters and interactive tools
  • Between-session messaging to look back & look ahead to connect learners' experiences
  • Tailored "make it stick" reminders of key ideas people can use in their daily work going forward

Image with the words engaging strategies, practical tools, and lasting connections


decorative image

Publications & Presentations

Supporting Implementation Outcomes through Online Learning Communities:  Poster presented at the 15th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation

Results:  Online learning communities can be an effective form of support for the behavioral health workforce when they challenge current professional practices, focus on relevant topics, have skilled facilitators, and encourage connections among participants.

Implications: Learning communities can be successfully implemented in online formats.  They lead to positive outcomes, especially when the topics are novel and relevant, training quality is high, and there are opportunities to form connections with other participants


Training and Supporting Healthcare Leadership During the COVID Pandemic:  Article published in Elevate, from the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Training

Article Overview: The Northwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center developed resources for leaders in public health to support and train during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Provider Well-Being Initiative was created with two goals in mind: building strategies for individual self-care and assisting health and behavioral healthcare agencies in implementing well-being interventions for their organizations. Learn more about how Northwest MHTTC’s initiative helped leaders in public health tackle the specific hardships faced by leadership in public health and what tactics led to a 100% recommendation rate among participants.


Washington Behavioral Healthcare Conference sessions related to Learning Community content:


"Supporting Our Well-Being: Workforce Equity, ​Training and Resilience​" (Clayton, Mauseth, Martin)


"Virtual Learning Works!  Building resilience, supporting leadership and connecting our field" (Clayton, Vaswani-Bye, Fikre)

"Hidden in Plain Sight:  How racism & bias demands effective training" (Clayton, Jamerson, Messersmith)



decorative image

Learning Community Projects To Date

Year 6:  '23-'24

Year 5:  '22-'23

Year 4:  '21-'22

Year 3:  '20-'21


Copyright © 2024 Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network