Guideline Fourteen | Disseminate

14. Develop and implement strategies for ongoing dissemination.

"Evidence from similar initiatives tends to confirm that unless dissemination is built in from the beginning it does not happen."
                                                                                                          HEFCE 98/68

In the past, the outcomes of learning and teaching projects were disseminated at their conclusion: "Now we have our/website/curriculum/teaching innovation, let’s write a report/present at a conference/publish". This strategy has been found wanting, and has resulted in, for example, an insistence on planning for dissemination and sustainability from funding agencies. 
Key steps needed to develop a useful dissemination plan are:

  • Define what you want to disseminate (The message/outcomes)
  • Identify your audience i.e. stakeholders (Who)
  • Categorise stakeholders into groups according to their primary need: Awareness; Understanding; or Action (Purpose)
  • Decide on the most appropriate dissemination method for each group (How)
  • Decide on the best timing (When)

Note that, in general, not enough attention is given to dissemination for Action. This needs special strategies to involve key stakeholder groups such that they actually do something. This has the major benefit of increasing ownership of the project. The greater the feeling of ownership amongst stakeholder groups, the greater the chance of real project success.

“Part of the project’s success is because it has tried to include everyone and embrace staff in practical activity. Previous projects have been about staff awareness, which is where they have failed.”
Sharing Excellence Project, Nottingham Trent University
All of the above needs to be compiled into a dissemination plan that is agreed on by the project team and Reference Group (or similar). Below is a template for a Dissemination Plan that you may find useful to brainstorm with your project team. There are also some examples of dissemination plans from some excellent project plans.

A series of very useful documents on dissemination are available from the resources box on the right of this page. Also at the bottom of this page is a template for download that is a compilation of two of the references in the right box and a pdf of a sheet to be printed on A3 paper that will allow you to map your stakeholders into stakeholders who need dissemination for Awareness, Understanding or for Action as described in the excellent Harmsworth workbook linked to in the resources box.


Template Dissemination Plan A Lee .doc52 KB
Worksheet for mapping dissemination to Stakeholders.pdf41.8 KB