A Discovery Report on Learning in USAID/Washington

Comments (3)
Date Published:
February 25, 2013
USAID Contribution

Creating a culture of learning involves changing the way staff conducts its work. To gain a better sense of how learning is already happening at USAID, the LER Office recently completed an in-depth study on the state of learning in USAID’s Washington headquarters.

While LER’s larger learning initiative covers all parts of USAID, this report shares findings specific to how USAID/Washington employees currently integrate learning into their technical practice. The findings begin to explain how employees generate knowledge within regional and technical bureaus, how this knowledge is organized across the Agency, how it is shared, and finally, how knowledge is applied to improve future work.

This report includes documentation of both research findings and the process by which the study was conducted. It also provides a snapshot of how the LER Office will begin to develop a long-term strategy for strengthening technical practice supported by a robust learning culture.


Bob2012 wrote:

While I found the report to be a good summary of what LER/PPL has uncovered, it would be helpful to know just how some of the learning examples originated -- what were the main precipating factors; where, organizationally, did the genesis of the approach take root; what resources were made available; what did the unit do with the knowledge it secured; and, how likely is it that the examples can be replicated? For instance: Case Study #1, "Crowdsourcing" is a paen to the efforts of USAID in 2012 to identify its Development Credit Authoroity's loan data. Did the Agency draw from the efforts and lessons of its first foray into crowdsourcing done in 2008/2009 by Karen Turner and the Global Development Commons Team -- an accomplishment that earned them a finalist nomination for the 2009 National Sercurity and International Affairs Medal. If a Mission or another organizational unit with USAID wanted to use crowdsourcing, who should they consult?  Hopefully,  PPL -- after inventorying learning approaches throughout USAID --  will produce a common set of definitions of and annotated references to the ever increasing array of Agency learning innovations and practices. Such a taxonomy would make policies and practices more accessible to potential users, providing them with a useful classification system and standardized definitions.

Robert Walker Senior Manager/Corporate Learning  ENGILITY/IRG




posted 8 years ago

Bob, really good question. One of the drawbacks of this research was accessing institutional memory as this was a slice-in-time view of our interviewees.  Had we spoken to Karen Turner we would have learned this... It brings up the excellent point of how this is to be updated to include these cases and upate them for ongoing learning, at the very least. Thanks!

posted 8 years ago

This has also been posted on AI Commons (Appreciative Inquiry Commons) for knowledge sharing with AI practitioners (7/13) by Jindra Cekan


posted 8 years ago