USAID Learning Network

Hi Learning Network members! 

Welcome to the online working group for our Network. This online platform will serve as our primary mode of communication over the lifetime of our Learning Network. We will use this working group to upload and share resources, start and contribute to discussion threads, call on one another for support and offer guidance, and pose questions about the Network and it's impact over the next 18 months. This is closed group. Only Learning Network members are allowed to join. 

Please take a look at the FAQ below that will (hopefully) answer any and all questions that you have. However, if you have any questions about the Learning Lab working group that are not answered in the FAQ or you just want to chat, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected] or give me a call at 202-792-2023 ext 57. 

Looking forward to learning with you all over the next 18 months! 



How do I update the frequency with which I receive group notifications?

From your group’s homepage, click on ‘Digest Subscription’ in the right sidebar to update your notification settings.

By setting your digest preferences, you are indicating how often you want to receive emails from the group. By default, you will receive an email notification every time a group member posts an update, discussion comment, event or resource. You can change the frequency to daily, weekly, or monthly and you will instead get a digest email of all the updates that were posted to the group over that timeframe. You can also choose not to receive any email notifications (although it is recommended not to choose this option so that you can keep up to date on group activity). Click “submit” once you’ve indicated your choice in the dropdown menu.

What is the "Update" feature and can group members post updates?

The "Update" section of the group is a place where group facilitators and members can write short messages (300 characters) that will be posted on the group space and will also be emailed out to all group members. Think of it like a Tweet where you can post quick updates on events, resources, and discussions for the rest of the group members.

What is the "Discussion" feature and can group members create new discussions for the group?

The "Discussion" section of the group is a space to hold lengthier online conversations between group members. It can be especially useful to discuss a particular theme or technical topic and can be scheduled over a specified period of time (for example, Monday from 3-4 PM) or can be more loosely time-bound. Group members can respond to discussion threads by posting replies or new comments either in the group space or by replying to the email notifications that they receive.

All members of a group can create new group discussions that can be read and commented on by the rest of the group. Here's how:

To begin a conversation with other group members, make sure you are first logged into Learning Lab and are a member of the group where you wish to post or join a discussion.

Once in the group, choose the Discussion tab from the navigation bar and click the “new discussion” button. On this page, enter a title for your post and add your comment in the body section. If you want to, you can use the horizontal toolbar to apply some basic formatting options. You can also upload PDF files to your discussion post directly underneath this box. Finally, designate the Discussion Type from the drop-down menu and then click “Save” to post your discussion comment. You’ll be taken to a page with your comment posted at the top and space for replies underneath. Whenever a new discussion is started or someone responds to an existing discussion, all group members will receive an email (depending on their digest subscription preferences).

New group discussions must be initiated from within working group site pages on Learning Lab. However, you can choose to respond to an existing discussion thread either through the website or via email by replying to the email notification you receive from the site. If you submit a response by email, please be patient. It may take a while for your post to appear on the site.

If you respond from within the group on the website, you have the option to reply to an individual comment or to the entire discussion thread. To reply to the entire thread, click on the title of the discussion from the Discussion tab main page.Then, enter your comment in the Group Comments text box. 

To reply to an individual comment, scroll down on the same page to where individual responses are listed. Underneath the individual comment you want to reply to, click “reply.” When you reply to an individual, your comment will be indented under the specific comment you are responding to.

Can group members upload resources to the group?

Group members also have the ability to share resources with one another. These documents and tools will not be included in the general Learning Lab library, but in the case of an open group, non-group members will still be able to view them and they will appear in site-wide search results. As you would expect, moderated group resources are only visible to group members.

Click on the Resources tab to see your group’s current resource library and to share your own documents, tools, and external links.

If you have content that you want to share with the group, click “Add Resource.” A new form will open with three separate tabs along the top: Resource Description, Author and Publication Info, and Resources.

1. Resources Description

On the Resource Description tab, which opens first, add the title of the resource and a short description in the box marked “Body”.

Under the Body, you’ll see several drop-down menus that allow you to tag your resource, making them easier for people to find based on their interests. Using these drop-downs, you can indicate the type of resource you’re uploading, if it focuses on any specific region or countries, which component of the USAID program cycle it relates to, if it reflects a specific learning approach, and what general sectors it covers. These are all optional fields, but members can use them to filter group resources.

2. Author and Publication Info

In the second tab, enter the Author and Publication information. In each field, a name that has previously been entered may appear as you type. If the name hasn’t been entered in the site before, it will be added to the database. You can add multiple authors if you separate their names with a comma.

3. Resources

In the third tab, attach your resource. This page has multiple options. First, choose the correct Resource Format from the drop-down menu. Most likely, the most relevant options will be PDF and External Links.

To upload a PDF, skip the screencast field and go to the File Upload section. Find the Add a new file box and click “browse” to select your file. Once you’ve selected it, click on the upload button and enter a short title for the PDF. If you need to convert your file into a PDF, please read the help text provided in the File Upload box.

For links to website and online documents outside of Learning Lab, please proceed to the External Link section and add a short title and the web address in the fields provided.

Feel free to skip the audio, video, related content, and location fields.

Finally, click "Save" to submit the resource.

Can I share sensitive information or resources within the group space?

Learning Lab is a public website and is not located within USAID’s firewall. Therefore, no Sensitive But Unclassified information (SBU) or Personally Identifiable Information (Social Security numbers, etc.) should be posted on the site.

We recommend members use discretion when sharing draft documents, and consider your group’s membership before sharing sensitive information. Keep in mind that information and resources shared in open groups are visible to anyone with a Learning Lab account.

My resource, discussion, or date did not appear in the group space after I hit save. What happened?

The most common reason for this is that a required box was not filled out. Carefully check each section to make sure all the required information is completed. Often, you will see the relevant box outlined in red, indicating that it needs to be filled in.

How can I edit or delete a discussion, comment, or resource that I posted?

All working group members are able to edit and delete resources and comments they have posted themselves. First make sure that you're logged into Learning Lab and then find the page you wish to edit. When viewing a resource or discussion comment that you posted, you should see two tabs at the top – ‘View’ and ‘Edit’. Clicking on the ‘Edit’ tab will allow you to make changes to the resource. Make the necessary changes and then click Save again. You can also delete the resource from the bottom of the edit screen if you wish.

Your group’s facilitator is also able to delete resources, discussions, and comments if needed.