For inter-organizational networks, learning is usually a key activity. This is true for in particular for Global Action Networks (GANs), which are global, multi-stakeholder change networks. Even activities usually not associated with formal learning, such as meetings, often have learning as a key motivation.
Development of learning capacity has been identified as one of the key competencies for GAN success. In August, 2012 a small group of practitioners and academics have been investigating how to assess GANs’ capacity as learning systems. This has produced a list of characteristics of tools for best assessing the presence of competencies. To further advance development of such tools, the study group focussed on development of tools for the learning systems competency. As part of this work, it is hosting webinars with leading experts on the topic to identify the state of the art and how to advance it. Others are invited to participate in these webinars. So far, the following are scheduled:
Fred Carden: Fred is Director of the Evaluation Unit of The International Development Research Centre in Canada. He has written in the areas of evaluation, international cooperation, and environmental management. Current work includes assessment of the influence of research on public policy, and the development of use-oriented evaluation tools and methods. Recent co-publications include ” Outcome Mapping”, “Organizational Assessment”, and “Evaluating Capacity Development”(see http://www.idrc.ca/evaluation).
Etienne Wenger-Trayner: Etienne is a globally recognized thought leader in the field of social learning and communities of practice. He has authored and co-authored seminal articles and books on the topic, including Situated Learning, where the term “community of practice” was coined.
Haille Preskill: For more than 25 years, Hallie has provided evaluation, organizational learning, and training workshops and services for healthcare, nonprofit, education, foundation, government, and corporate organizations. Currently, Hallie leads FSG’s Strategic Evaluation: an approach for designing systems of collecting and sharing data which lead to actionable change, improved organizational effectiveness, and ultimately, social impact.approach area. She leads a team of experienced consultants who provide evaluation expertise over a wide range of topic areas, including healthcare, economic development, youth and education, substance abuse prevention and treatment, community engagement, and human rights.
Michael Quinn Patton is an independent evaluation consultant with 40 years experience conducting evaluations, training evaluators, and writing about ways to make evaluation useful. He is former President of the American Evaluation Association and recipient of both the Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Award for “outstanding contributions to evaluation use and practice” and the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Award for lifetime contributions to evaluation theory, both from the American Evaluation Association. The Society for Applied Sociology honored him with the Lester F. Ward Award for Outstanding Contributions to Applied Sociology. His most recent book is Developmental Evaluation: Applying Complexity Concepts to Enhance Innovation and Use.
A summary of the previous webinars will be presented for discussion. The goal was to identify themes and key issues, to set an agenda for further developing the learning competency and ways to assess it.