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Writing and Submission Tips for Content Contributions

What Are We Looking For?

Learning Lab accepts content submissions from USAID staff, implementing partners, and the broader development community that demonstrates the integration of learning approaches and practices associated with CLA, monitoring and evaluation into development programming or organizational processes. Submitted and approved content, including resources and blogs and industry events, are published on Learning Lab and sometimes shared through Learning Lab’s social media and monthly newsletter. 

What Are the Steps in the Submission Process?

To submit a blog, resource, or industry event, the user signs into their Learning Lab account, navigates to the “Contribution” tab, and clicks the “Submit Content” button. The user will be taken to a submission form with detailed instructions to complete the required fields and submit.

The submission will be automatically added to a queue for review by the Learning Lab Team. The Learning Lab Team reserves the right to approve, reject, and/or recommend minor or more substantial edits to content that is received. An approved submission may be lightly copyedited by the Learning Lab Team. When a resource, blog, or industry event page is approved and published, the submitter will receive a confirmation message.
From the time the Learning Lab Team receives a content submission, the approval timeline may take up to three weeks.

Are There Tips for Creating Resources or Blog Writing?

Learning Lab’s focus is on learning practices and approaches associated with CLA, monitoring, and evaluation for a broad and non-sector-specific audience. Ideally, content submitted to Learning Lab focuses first on the learning and secondarily on the sector or geographic location of a particular project or effort. Those interested in submitting content to Learning Lab should consider 1) who the intended audience is and 2) whether their content centers on an approach, tool, or experience of learning. If a submission is primarily sectoral in nature, it may require reframing, or the Learning Lab Team may recommend that the content is better suited for other USAID sector-specific public platforms.

    Resources

    To submit a resource, the author provides landing page text introducing the resource attachment. The landing page text should be between 1-3 short paragraphs and is an opportunity to explain what the resource is, why it was produced, and why it is of interest to the Learning Lab audience – i.e., how can they apply lessons from this resource or the tool itself to their own work?

    Blogs

    Blogs on Learning Lab can share a learning experience or can provide more context or personal background to a resource. Blogs are typically between 350-500 words. For blog submissions, it is recommended to:

    • Explain your blog post's objective in the introduction. What are you trying to achieve with your post? What are the key takeaways?
    • Keep the tone conversational. Blog writing style means short, active-voice sentences. Try to avoid large blocks of text - break them up and use bold headings where appropriate.
    • Avoid using USAID lingo and acronyms. When using acronyms, be sure to spell them out on first mention.
    • Include links to relevant resources both within Learning Lab and externally. 
    • Say yes to images and infographics! (With appropriate credits)
    • Craft a snazzy headline.
    • Properly attribute the quotes and ideas of others.

    Some examples of “successful” blogs are:

    Top 3 Myths about Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting Debunked

    • Conversational tone
    • Bullets make it easy to scan through for key points
    • Gets right to the point

    What Difference Does Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting Make to Development? Key Findings from a Recent Literature Review

    • Contains new information about CLA that people are very interested in reading
    • Distills a long report into interesting and easily digestible points
    • Includes a call to action

    What is this thing called “Theory of Change?”

    • Captivating title
    • Great use of visuals

    What Types of Industry Events Does Learning Lab Promote?

    As a community platform, Learning Lab endeavors to help the development community connect to knowledge and to each other, including through promotion of industry-related, public events. Learning Lab welcomes Industry Event page submissions publicizing events open to the general public. Please keep in mind that approval of submissions may take up to three weeks, and the Learning Lab Team may not be able to approve a submission in time for the event date.

    What if I have Additional Questions?

    Learning Lab loves to hear from the community! If you have further questions on how to submit content to Learning Lab, please email [email protected] with “Content Submission Question - [Title of Blog/Resource/Event]” in the subject line.