Development and Training Services
How do you resource learning activities?

Although ideally, learning should be part of everything we do organically, we know that in reality, it takes resources—such as staff time and energy—to design, implement, and monitor learning activities. How can we ensure we have adequate resources for learning?


Stacey Young | USAID PPL/LER
Jul 15, 2013

Finding the funds to support learning activities can be a real challenge. A first step is to acknowledge that learning is critical to the effectiveness of our development work, and therefore needs to be built into program objectives, budget and staffing.

Use Scopes of Objectives (SOOs) instead of Scopes of Work (SOWs). Rather than adhering to a set of authorized activities, keeping the goal in sight allows you to re-evaluate and focus efforts, time, and funding on the activities that contribute most to the development objectives. This approach inherently allows for learning (experimentation, innovation, and development hypothesis testing). If you find a more effective method of achieving the objective, you can adapt and update the project design.

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Stuart Belle | The QED Group, LLC
Jul 17, 2013

Organizational learning requires real costs - in time, personnel/technical support, technology, and activity implementation.  To be successfully resourced, learning has to be linked to strategic objectives that themselves have been costed for success.  Organizational learning should not be an afterthought, but a proactive investment for organizational and program improvement.

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Zan Larsen | USAID
Aug 30, 2013

The learning functions should be understood as a function that will engage all Mission technical teams, all projects and implementing partners, select USAID/W technical KM & learning projects, and selected other development actors in varying capacities and to varying degrees.  Budgetary implications will therefore include Mission staff time and resources as well as implementing partner time and resources and therefore project and activity budgets.

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