Skip to main content
Community Contribution

SID KM Workgroup Event: Closing the Learning Loop: Principles and Practice - A Session with Chris Collison


Development practitioners have increasingly realized the value of flexible program design and iterative implementation driven by practical learning. These adaptive approaches are particularly relevant for policy reform. In policy work, success typically depends on an ability to navigate complex political and social systems and to adjust to non-linear policy trends. How then can practitioners and donors know whether progress is being made from month to month or year to year? And how can they feed lessons from their development programs into decision making? 

Chris Collison, bestselling author of Learning to Fly, joins us remotely to take us on a journey through the principles and practice of closing the learning loop. He will start by critically exploring the cycle of 'lessons learned’, and exposing areas where knowledge and insights often leak – and never quite make it through to inform the next project. 

How can we avoid this kind of leakage, and who does this well?

As an example, from his work with the International Olympic Committee, Chris will share the variety of knowledge transfer techniques and tools which create learning pathways to help country Olympic committees build on the strengths of past games in a KM program which was initiated for Sydney 2000.

Moving from the Olympics to the development sector, Chris will share insights from his work with DfID (UKAid), and their creation of an Organisational Learning self assessment tool, which participants will get the opportunity to try as pre-work for the session, enabling a ‘River Diagram’ to be built from the inputs of scores of the participants. 

In the final section, this ‘bench-sharing’ activity will lead us to a set of focused table discussions where we can connect sharers with learners and set the knowledge flowing!

Page last updated