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“After more than 25 years of observing and delivering M & E training, I’m delighted to see this book which provides such good advice about building in adult learning principles and proper planning.  The book combines accessible guidance about principles of good instructional design and delivery with very practical exercises and examples. Novice and experienced M & E trainers could all learn from it.” Patricia Rogers, Professor of Public Sector Evaluation, RMIT University, Australia (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), and Director of

“Whether managing or delivering M&E training in the fields of development or philanthropy, this book prides both the “nuts and bolts” as well as the conceptual backdrop for effective M&E training.” – Nancy MacPherson, Managing Director, Evaluation, The Rockefeller Foundation

“This book is valuable resource for people, like me, who are involved in building and strengthening evaluation capacity in the humanitarian sector. It balances the personal experience of the authors with up-to-date academic knowledge, communicated in an easy and humorous way that makes reading this book serious fun.” – Dr. Mzia Turashvili, Director of the Evaluation Unit, Médecins Sans Frontières, Vienna


M&E Training: A Systematic Approach was published in 2016 to wide acclaim. Coauthored by Scott Chaplowe and Brad Cousins, this comprehensive 439-page book bridges theoretical concepts with practical, hands-on guidance for successful M&E training. The authors draw upon their combined 50+ years of practical experience and scholarly research on M&E training, adult education, participatory evaluation and evaluation capacity development in a variety of international contexts.

The book is organized into three parts which progressively build upon each other. Illustrative examples, practical checklists, feature boxes, diagrams, and other visual aids like cartoons, provide clear and accessible guidance that can be tailored to different M&E training needs and contexts – whether training is for beginners or experienced learners, organizations or the general public, or for one-day or  long-term training programs.

Readers can easily navigate contents according to their level of understanding, interests and needs. To assist with this, each chapter begins with a brief a summary of learning objectives, ends with a summary of key learning points, and includes a list of resources for further learning on chapter topics, (most freely available online).

Use this link for the full Table of Contents, and you can read more about the genesis of the book in my blog on this website. Below is a brief summary of each chapter:

Part 1 – Key Concepts for M&E Training

Part 1 provides a conceptual foundation for M&E training as part of a larger system that includes other sources of learning and media for its delivery, the learners themselves, the trainers, and other contextual considerations that can support or hinder training outcomes. Training does not happen in isolation, and is best planned as part of a coherent, holistic approach to learning and transfer to achieve individual and organizational objectives.

Chapter 1 – M&E Training that Makes a Difference

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the book and the choices we have made for the topics included and how we discuss them.  It identifies key factors of successful M&E training, such attention to training transfer, and approaching training both systematically as well as systemically. The demand for M&E training is discussed, including the range of M&E training types, providers and trainees. A copy of this chapter can be accessed here.

Chapter 2 – The Training Landscape

Chapter 2 begins by examining what distinguishes training relative to other forms of education, situating it within an education continuum spanning formal, non-formal, informal and incidental learning. The discussion reinforces a systems approach to M&E training, stressing that it typically occurs in contexts where multiple other sources of learning are available. Thus, particular attention is given to the assortment of delivery media (possibilities) for learning in addition to in-person training, such as e-learning, on-the-job training, mentoring, and the use of social media. Such considerations are critical to make informed decisions that best cater to training needs.

Chapter 3 – The M&E Capacity Building Context

M&E training does not happen in isolation, but is embedded in complex social systems that affect training and its outcomes. Chapter 3 situates M&E as part of a larger system, with key considerations at the levels of the individual, organization, and external environment that shape the supply and demand for M&E capacity building. The chapter ends with looking at M&E capacity assessment and strategic planning to inform capacity building investment and alignment.

Chapter 4 – Adult Learning

Adults are self-directed learners, bringing to training past experiences, values, opinions, expectations and priorities. They are indeed complex systems, and no one explanatory model or theory is fully satisfactory. Therefore, any attempt to summarize such a topic as adult learning is far from exhaustive. Chapter 4 provides an overview of some major adult learning concepts and considerations for M&E training, and concludes identifying 14 adult learning principles that were carefully researched and selected for effective M&E(or any) training.

Chapter 5 – What makes a good M&E Trainer?

M&E trainers wear several hats and play a variety of roles in addition to training facilitation.  This chapter identifies key competencies for M&E trainers, grouped into 6 core areas. An understanding of these competencies can help inform trainer recruitment, professional development, performance appraisal and management, and curriculum development for training of trainers (ToT). The chapter ends with guidance for recruiting an M&E trainer, with an example recruitment checklist. A copy of this chapter can be accessed here.

PART 2 – A Systematic Approach to M&E Training

Part 2 of the book provides practical guidance to systematically plan the effective delivery and follow-up to M&E training, the overarching goal being the transfer of learning into individual and organizational practice. It presents a systematic approach for M&E training, from training analysis, design and development to its implementation and evaluation. Practical examples, checklists and other tools accompany each chapter.

Chapter 6 – An Overview of the ADDIE Framework for Training

This chapter introduces the five interrelated phases of the ADDIE framework for training: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. It discusses ADDIE as a systematic and systems approach to training, and why it was selected for M&E training.

Chapter 7 – Training Analysis

Training analysis gathers information to determine whether M&E training is needed, and if so, how to best provide it. Therefore, this chapter examines more than needs analysis, but also solution analysis, with careful consideration of opportunities and available resources, as well as threats and constraints. Key topics include: training needs and outcomes analysis; trainee analysis; context analysis; task, gap, and causal analysis, and training analysis reporting.

Chapter 8 – Training Design

Training design builds upon the information gathered during the training analysis to define specific training objectives, content and instructional design (curriculum) to deliver training to achieve intended results. This includes the selection of methods, activities and training materials most suitable for the specific M&E training needs, audience, resources, and instructional setting identified during the analysis stage. Key topics include: identifying training and learning objectives; organizing instructional content; and designing training curriculum, evaluation and follow-up.

Chapter 9 – Training Development and Preparation

The time, responsibilities, and what exactly needs to be developed for an M&E training event will vary according to its particular design. This chapter first examines considerations for materials to develop, adopt or adapt for M&E training. These resources need to be carefully reviewed and can be piloted when appropriate. Next, the chapter looks at practical logistics for successful training implementation. The chapter includes comprehensive checklists for preparing for M&E training, as well as example outlines for training plans, syllabus and more.

Chapter 10 –Training Implementation

Training implementation operationalizes what has been designed and developed to achieve training objectives. It is when learning occurs, which involves various activities where people interact with training content and each other, experiencing, practicing and reviewing M&E concepts and practices. For the trainer, this involves the management of training activities, participants, the training environment and the overall learning process. Key topics covered in this chapter include: effective communication and use of questions; using training aids; facilitating discussion and group dynamics; training monitoring and feedback; co-facilitation; cultural competence; handling disruptive behavior; time management; and specific tips for training introductions, activity facilitation, and closing.

Chapter 11 – Training Evaluation

Training evaluation should be carefully considered early during the training design and development (Chapters 8 and 9). This helps to ensure that training objectives are aligned with measurable results, and assessment tools can be prepared beforehand. After examining training effectiveness and worth this introduces two major approaches to training evaluation: 1) a levels approach, drawing upon the models offered by Kirkpatrick and Guskey; and 2) a logical framework approach identifying how resources and planned activities are to bring about intended results, and key indicators for monitoring and evaluation. Next, key considerations are summarized for five generic stages training evaluation, and the chapter concludes looking at four types of evaluators to consider for training evaluation.

PART 3 – M&E Training Methods and Techniques

Successful M&E trainers require an arsenal of methods and techniques they can use in and adapt to multiple and varied training contexts. Part 3 of the book profiles 99 examples activities, organized into 21 categories of activity types (summarized below).  Each activity category defines the activity type, its link to adult learning principles, key advantages and disadvantages for the activity, and tips and additional considerations. This is followed by practical, concise descriptions of activities – 99 total – that concretely illustrate methods and techniques for the activity type, and are intended to be tailored to different training contexts.

99 Activities Organized into 21 Activity Types 

1. Icebreakers
2. Energizers
3. Lectures
4. Discussion Activities
5. Subgroup Formations
6. Case Studies
7. Learning Games
8. Guest Speakers
9. Panel Discussions and Debates
10. Role Playing
11. Simulations
12. Demonstrations
13. M&E Software Activities
14. Learner Presentations
15. Practicum Experiences
16. Independent Learning Activities
17. Review Activities
18. Learning Assessment Activities
19. Training M&E Activities
20. Training Closing Activities
21. Training Follow-up Activities

More Praise for the Book

 “This book is a welcome addition to the field of monitoring and evaluation, notable in its scope and breadth of a topic of increasingly importance in the evaluation community.” – Marc Segone, Director, Independent Evaluation Office, Director, Independent Evaluation office, UNWomen; Chair, United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG); and  Co-chair, EvalPartners  

“This text is excellent for building the capacity of trainers and helping professional and nonprofessional to learn about program evaluation.” – Lori Bakken, Associate Professor and Evaluation Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison 

 “This is a very comprehensive and well-illustrated training manual which is grounded on modern theories and presents practical application of all known M&E training and facilitation tools and methods. As a former trainer in Project Cycle Management related M&E and facilitator of planning and self-evaluation workshops, I would have loved to have such a book.” –  Claude Hilfiker, Head Evaluation Section, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

 “The authors support effective capacity building in M&E by providing an enriching compendium of well-tried tools and practical hints for systematic training, complemented with a sound grasp of underpinning theoretical concepts.”  Professor Thomas Widmer, Policy-Analysis & Evaluation Unit, Department of Political Science, University of Zurich

“I often note that it seems like we’re endlessly training NGO staff in M&E, and frustrated with the mediocre work that results.  What is so essential about this book is that it fills a key gap on how to effectively train for M&E, and it does so in a thorough yet digestible format. In an era of increasing demand and need for evaluation capacity building, this book is a key tool for higher quality and more sustainable results.” – Christie Getman, Senior Director, Technical Support and Program Quality Unit, Lutheran World Relief

“This books reflects a meticulous review of the literature and discourse on evaluation capacity building and development to inform successful M&E training. It acknowledges the complexity of interdependent considerations, including larger organizational and societal contexts, to not only deliver effective M&E training, but also training transfer – the ability of trainees to apply M&E learning after training has been completed.” –  Joseph Dickman, Deputy Director, Research, Evaluation & Learning, The MasterCard Foundation

 “Written for a diversity of training contexts, this excellent and timely book draws extensively from current literature yet is highly practical, reflecting the vast real-world experience of the authors. It will be very useful for anyone who has to cultivate an appreciation for M&E and evaluative thinking in their organizations, teams or communities – whether evaluators, program managers, team leaders or researchers.”  Zenda Ofir, Honorary Professor, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and former President of the African Evaluation Association

“The book contains useful guidelines for designing effective M&E training, and for designing training in general.” – John Mathiason, Managing Director, Associates for International Management Services, Cornell Institute of Public Affairs


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