The Facilitator Role within Learning Networks at USAID
How can facilitation help to drive meaningful peer-to-peer learning in a formalized learning network? This article will explore the core role that facilitators play in implementing a learning network, as defined by USAID. USAID’s model of learning networks differs from other peer-to-peer learning opportunities, such as communities of practice or networks of practice, in a number of ways including selection of grantees through a competitive process, dedicated funding of learning network partners, and creation of deliverables within a designated timeline. This paper outlines three core differences that make facilitating learning networks at USAID distinctive: 1) The organization of the learning network around evolving learning agendas that facilitate learning on multiple levels; 2) The time and process involved in the development and implementation of a learning network; and 3) The unique intra- and inter-personal dynamics of the learning network through the involvement of both the funded (network members) and the funder (the donor). In this article, the role of a learning network facilitator will be overlaid primarily with lessons learned generated from implementation of the Growing Organizational Value Chain Excellence (GROOVE) Learning Network.