The Rationale for Active Implementation

Over the past decades the science related to developing and identifying evidence-based programs and practices has improved significantly. However, the science related to implementing these programs, with high fidelity, in real-world settings, has lagged far behind.

Recent reports from groups such as the Institute of Medicine (2000, 2001, 2007) and The U.S. Department of Education (2011) have highlighted the gap between researcher knowledge of effective innovations and the services actually received by persons who could benefit from research-based interventions. In fact, the lag time for translating research into practice has been documented as 20+ years.

The research-to-practice gap is a critical issue because students cannot benefit from interventions they do not receive.


Video Vignette 13: Active Implementation and Scaling-up In Education

How can we take these good ideas that work in some places, and get them to work in all places… so all children in all schools would have access? Listen to Dean Fixsen and Karen Blase discuss active implementation and scaling up.


In 2005, the National Implementation Research Network released a monograph synthesizing implementation research findings across a range of fields. Based on these findings, NIRN developed five overarching frameworks referred to as the Active Implementation Frameworks.

In these modules we provide an overview of the Active Implementation Frameworks as follows:

Active Implementation Frameworks

  • Usable Innovations
  • Implementation Stages
  • Implementation Drivers
  • Improvement Cycles
  • Implementation Teams