The following resources are recommended to support the planning, delivery and evaluation of M&E capacity development, training and learning. The separate webpage on this website, M&E Resources, is a “companion” listing of recommended resources that can be adapted for self-directed, facilitated or blended M&E training and learning. For the most part, recommended resources are limited to those that can be freely accessed online. Hyperlinks will be periodically check and updated, but if one is no longer working, an online search using the resource title should lead you to it. Feel free to contact me if you come across an oversight or have additional resources you would like to bring to my attention.
M&E Training: A Systematic Approach
Firstly, I would be amiss not to call-out the book I published in 2016 with Brad Cousins, M&E Training: A Systematic Approach. This comprehensive, 439-page book fills a gap in the literature bridging theoretical concepts with practical, hands-on guidance for successful M&E training. While the book is not for free, you can access two free chapters on the website for Sage Publications, and following are some useful resources/tools that draw upon the book to support M&E capacity development and training:
- Top Ten Tips for Evaluation Capacity Building. Based on an expert lecture I gave at the American Evaluation Association (AEA) 2017 conference in Washington, D.C., this post identifies ten key considerations for evaluation capacity development (ECB) in organizations. It serves as a useful reminder when embarking on M&E capacity building (AKA “development”) that is organization-wide or a single training.
- Illustrative Questions – M&E Capacity Development. This handy 1- page set of questions is a useful way to scope an organization’s need for an M&E-related capacity development intervention. It can be delivered in-person or through email as a springboard to initiative more focused organizational and context analysis.
- Stakeholder Groups for Org M&E Capacity Development. Whether for planning an M&E training or an organization-wide capacity development strategy, this is a useful list of example stakeholder groups and relevant M&E skills (learning) they may require.
- Context Analysis for M&E Capacity Development. A context analysis for M&E capacity development examines the system-wide components of an organization and its operational context to determine the recommended approach to capacity development. This tool presented in this post supports this by providing a concise checklist of key factors and actors to consider.
- Example M&E Capacity Development Recruitment Checklist. This tool provides a consistent, transparent, and accountable set of criteria to support recruitment of consultants or employees for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacity development. It is a generic example designed to be adaptable to different contexts, terms of reference or job descriptions, whether recruiting for organizational capacity assessment or training.
- M&E Curriculum Topics-Tasks. Drawing upon several monitoring and evaluation (M&E) learning curricula, this listing of M&E topics can be used to inform M&E training task analysis and curriculum design, as well as organizational M&E capacity assessment.
- Adult Learning Principles (& Tips) for M&E Training. Adults are self-directed learners that bring to training past experiences, values, opinions, expectations and priorities that shape why and how they learn.
- Logical Bridge Game. In our book on M&E training, we present a variety of active learning techniques to engage people in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) training. The “Logical Bridge” activity is one of my earliest and favorite that I used for training. It is a “soft” introduction to logic models, and a good example of how M&E learning can be made fun not only for training, but also as an icebreaker or team-building activity for other events.
Organizational M&E Capacity Development
Organizational capacity development (AKA “capacity building”) is more than just conducting training, but can involve a range of planning and delivery options depending on the organizational context and need. As such, before diving more specifically into M&E training resources, I wanted to share a list (far from exhaustive) of some of recommended resources to support M&E capacity development in organizations.
- Evaluating Capacity Development Results – user-friendly webpage at BetterEvalaution.com with links to a host of other resources on the capacity development in general and evaluating it in specific.
- CLEAR Knowledge Hub. The Centers for Learning Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) is housed within the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), and is chalk full of resources for strengthening monitoring and evaluation systems and capacities in organizations.
- Organizational Effectiveness Knowledge Center. This online resource center from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation is full of topics and resources for organizational capacity development not just for foundations, but the types of socially responsible organizations they fund.
- Making Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Work: A Capacity Development Toolkit. Published in 2009 by the World Bank, this 493-page book by publication by Gorgens and Zusek is a treasure trove for M&E capacity development, with a range of practical steps and tools to draw from for different organizational contexts.
- Evaluating Capacity Development: Experiences from Research and Development Organizations around the World. Douglas Horton et al. 2002. With a host of contributing authors and published by ISNAR, CTA, IDRC, this valuable publication looks at more than just evaluating, but also other aspects of capacity development.
- Guide to Evaluating Capacity Development Results. Published by the World Bank in 2012 this is a collection of guidance notes to help development practitioners and evaluators assess capacity development efforts. While the focus is more on assessing capacity development in general, it contains useful content that can be applied to the evaluation of M&E capacity development interventions.
- The Capacity Development Results Framework. Otoo et. al. 2009. The subtitle of this World Bank publication aptly describes the value of this resource: “A strategic and results-oriented approach to learning for capacity development.”
- Building Blocks of CLEAR’s Capacity Development Strategy. An example of one of the valuable resources on the CLEAR Knowledge Hub (see above), this is a terrifi planning checklist, concisely formatted in 4 pages, to consider change agents, capacity outcomes, and M&E capacity development interventions for a capacity development strategy.
- A Guide to Organizing Capacity Assessment Tools. 2017. Authored by Informing Change for the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, this succinct 17-page guide provides a helpful overview of six major, publicly available Organizational Capacity Assessment tools, and outlines key considerations for selecting and using them.
- A Guide to Assessing Needs, Publish by the World Bank (2012), do not let the 300-page length frighten you because this book is hands-on, user-friendly, and not only indispensable for needs assessment, but extremely handy wherever methods need to be considered for assessment, (e.g. organizational capacity assessment).
- Readiness for Organizational Learning and Evaluation (ROLE). Available from the consulting firm FSG, this is a straightforward tool designed to help assess an organization’s readiness for implementing learning and evaluation practices.
Websites for Training & Learning (in general)
The following websites are not specific to M&E training, but are recommended resources for training and organizational development.
- Big Dog & Little Dog’s Performance Juxtaposition. This website from Don Clark is an outstanding platform full of information and resources for training and adult learning, ranging from history and theory to methods and practical tools.
- Businessballs. Although focused on business training and organizational development, this website has a wealth of free resources that can support M&E training.
- Free Management Library. This is a great, nonprofit resource that provides free, easy-to-access, online articles for personal, professional and organizational development. It also has links to virtual courses, online groups, a blog directory, and more – check out the Assessing Your Training Needs: Needs Assessment to Training Goalsand Complete Guidelines to Design Your Training Plan.
- Instructional Design Knowledge Base. This website provides guidance and resources for instructional design, with interactive pages for doing an instructional design project and locating related resources.
- International Training & Education Center for Health (I-TECH). Offers resources for each stage of training, including evaluation guidance, worksheets, forms and questionnaires that are available for free download.
- MIT’s Training & Development Website. An outstanding resource, with sections devoted to trainees as well as trainers. The Training Delivery Guideincludes a handy method matrix to consider different training options for training delivery. I also recommend the interactive Key Questions Form to prepare and evaluate training delivery.
- Needs Assessment Guide. This handy, interactive website has links to straightforward steps, case studies and resources that can inform analysis for training as well as other initiatives.
- Trainers Advice. One of the many examples of private websites offering free training plans templates, as well as other resources for free or to buy.
- Training and Development Policy Wiki. This webpage of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (USOPM) is designed to assist agencies in evaluating their training programs, with a link to its Training Evaluation Field Guide.
Planning M&E Training and Learning
While most of the following publications are not specifically on planning M&E training, (reflecting the gap in the literature our book seeks to fill), they provide a useful overview for planning training that can be adapted according to M&E context and need. Some of the resources provide an overview of planning the whole training process, whereas others are more specific to training design and development.
- A Guide to Assessing Needs: Essential Tools for Collecting Information, Making Decisions, and Achieving Development Results (2012).This 300 page resource is useful for assessing and analyzing needs for a variety of purposes, including M&E training.
- Effective Teaching: A Guide for Educating Healthcare Providers (2005). Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and JHPIEGO, this 270-page guide covers a range of topics that inform not only healthcare training, but training on any subject, from developing learning objectives to managing the learning environment and conducting learning assessment.
- Introduction – The Logic of Backward Design (2010). From the Alliance for Education and Community Development (AECD), this free publication provides a 28-page look at backwards design that can be adapted for M&E training, with example templates.
- Learning for Performance. A Guide and Toolkit for Health Worker Training and Education (2007). Don’t let the title fool you; this practical resource can inform training for M&E and a variety of other subjects. Funded by USAID, it was developed by IntraHealth International and partners as part of The Capacity Project, and on their website you can find additional resources for training.
- Making Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Work: A Capacity Development Toolkit (2009). Published by the World Bank, this 493 page resource book is focused on M&E, albeit more at the level of organizational capacity development than specifically training. However, it is so useful, it is recommended here because it is full of advice and practical tools to plan capacity building that can be tailored to different organizational contexts, whether a government agency, NGO, or foundation.
- Standards for a Competency-based Approach to Monitoring and Evaluation Curricula & Trainings. Developed by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), this is an example of an organization-specific resource for M&E training. In addition to providing standards for essential competencies for those in M&E leadership positions, it also covers standards for the development and implementation of related M&E curricula/trainings to improve these M&E competencies.
- Training and Learning Standards: A Checklist and Tool for Developing and Implementing High-Quality Training and Learning Interventions (2012). The focus of this publication is captured in its subtitle; itis another valuable publication from IntraHealth International, available in English, French and Spanish.
- Training Works! (2003).This publication from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provides a user-friendly overview of key components of training: management, design, delivery and evaluation.
- Writing Good Learning Objectives (2010). From International Training & Education Center for Health, this concise, 8-page resource is flexible for a variety of training needs, including M&E.
Delivering M&E Training
As with the other sections on this webpage, most of the resources on training facilitation are not specific to M&E training. Nevertheless, the resources recommended here provide a useful overview of good practices for facilitating M&E training. Also, don’t forget to check out the on this website for some additional resources and practical example activities for facilitating M&E training.
- 100 Ways to Energize Groups: Games to Use in workshops, Meetings and the Community (2002). This handy publication in English, French and Spanish from International HIV/AIDS Alliance has a lot of ideas (100 to be exact) that can be adapted for training such as that for M&E.
- A Trainer’s Guide for Participatory Learning & Action (1995). This 270-page resource is in my opinion a classic, providing a comprehensive background to the principles of adult learning, focusing on facilitation skills, group dynamics and building interdisciplinary teams, and 101 interactive training games and exercises.
- Advanced Training of Trainers (2007). From Pathfinder International, this resource consists of a trainer’s guide and a participant’s guide. The former covers topics ranging from analyzing training need to evaluation and follow-up.
- Culture Matters (2014). Developed by the U.S. Peace Corps, this publication covers the knowledge and skills to work successfully and respectfully in other cultures. It is a great read for anyone providing training or working with people from other cultures. I like the publication version (which I accessed from Smith College in the preceding hyperlink), but you can also visit the Peace Corp’s interactive website for the online, interactive workbook).
- Developing a Logic Model: Teaching and Training Guide (2008). This publication is based on the University of Wisconsin-Extension logic model format, appropriate for beginning-level logic model users, with 17 activities and additional resources.
- Monitoring and Evaluation Training Curriculum (2009). Funded by USAID and developed by John Snow, Inc., this publication provides guidance and facilitation notes for training on four stages in an M&E system: planning, data collection, making data usable and using data for decision-making.
- Monitoring and Evaluation Training Guide (2002). This publication from the UNDP is designed to help facilitate M&E training in the results framework, with exercises, session notes and agendas for conducting training sessions ranging from one and a half hours to two days.
- Participatory Processes towards Co-Management of Natural Resources in Pastoral Areas of the Middle East (2003). Published by the FAO, this sourcebook provides a useful overview for training of trainers, “based on the principles of participatory methods and approaches.”
- Trainings. Another general online resource that can be useful for M&E training, with links to activities, facilitation tools, and guidance for training strategy and organizations.
- Training Bubble. This website offers energizers, icebreakers, training games and other resources for free or at cost.
- Training Games. Following the “freebies” link from the website of The Thiagi Group, this webpage contains more than 400 ready-to-us training games and activities.
- Training of Facilitators(2012). Funded by USAID, this is a useful publication from C-Change (Communication for Change) as part of their Learning Package for Social and Behavior Change Communication, in which other models contain additional information useful for training in M&E or other subjects.
- Training of Trainers: Trainers’ Guide (2006). This hands-on guide from MicroSave is organized by days, with day 1-3 focused on designing quality training materials, while days 4-5 focus on effective training delivery techniques. It has a companion manual, Participant’s Manual: A Guide to Key Content and Resources (2006).
- Trainer’s Toolbox of Training Techniques (1995). Compiled for the ILO, this publication is for training of trainers in labour-based road construction and maintenance, but the straightforward profile of 33 activity types for training is generic and adaptable to various training contexts.
Evaluating M&E Training and Learning
Those providing M&E training will likely have some experience in evaluation already, and their favorite resources to support evaluation. The following resources are more specifically on evaluating training, which can be adapted to M&E training contexts.
- A Practical Guide for Engaging Stakeholders in Developing Evaluation Questions (2009). This useful guide provides a five-step process for involving stakeholders in developing evaluation questions that can be adapted for M&E training, including a set of four worksheets to facilitate this process.
- Evaluating Training in WHO (2010). This is an example of an organization-specific guide that is useful to adapt for other training contexts, such as M&E. Developed by the World Health Organization, it provides an approach to training evaluation based on the Kirkpatrick’s model of four levels. It includes examples of evaluation tools in its annexes.
- Evaluation Reporting: A Guide to Help Ensure Use of Evaluation Findings (2013). From the U.S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, this is a handy, 22-page publication for program evaluation reporting, with generic guidance that is applicable to evaluation reporting for a variety of interventions, such as M&E training.
- Kirkpatrick’s Four Level Evaluation Model. Probably the most widely adapted framework for training evaluation, this link from the website of Don Clark (recommended above, Big Dog & Little Dog’s Performance Juxtaposition), provides a good introduction, with hyperlinked references for further information. Also, note that the Evaluating Training in WHO and the Training Evaluation Field Guide from USOPM, both recommended in this section, illustrate the application of the Kirkpatrick’s framework. As discussed in our book, there are other approaches out there, but Kirkpatrick’s has stood the test of time because it is intuitive and flexible to different training contexts.
- Training Package Assessment Materials Guide(2001). Funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), this package contains ten guides (downloadable in PDF). A good one to start with that is adaptable for M&E training is the overview guide of the same name as the series.
- Training Evaluation Field Guide Demonstrating the Value of Training at Every Level (2011). Published by the he U.S. Office of Personnel Management (USOPM) to support agency training representatives in evaluating the effectiveness of their training programs and in demonstrating training value to stakeholders and decision makers, this guide is an example of the application of Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation.
E-learning Resources for M&E Training
Learning through online outlets has revolutionized training delivery mediums (options) for both live (synchronous) and self-directed (asynchronous) distant learning, as well as a blended learning that combines face-to-face training with online learning. Below are some recommended resources for developing, delivering and evaluating e-learning for M&E.
- E-Learning. A Guidebook of Principles, Procedures and Practices (2003). From the Commonwealth Educational Media Center for Asia (CEMCA), for e-learning the date on this publication may seem old, but it provides a clear and useful overview of the topic.
- E-learning Methodologies. A Guide for Designing and Developing E-learning Courses (2011). From the FAO, 2011, I highly recommend this clear, practical guide for considering options for and designing e-learning programs.
- EduTech Wiki. From the University of Geneva, this website (in English and French) focuses on educational technology, and I particularly liked its webpage on Educational Technologies.
- Emerging Technologies in Distance Education (2010). This resource showcases international work of research scholars and innovative distance education practitioners who use emerging interactive technologies for teaching and learning at a distance.
- Framework for Monitoring and Evaluating Inclusive Technologies in Social Change Projects (2017). Provided by Social Impact Lab (SIMLab), this online resource includes guidance explaining M&E of inclusive technology, criteria to evaluate inclusive technology, indicator development, and sample resources for the M&E of inclusive technology.
- Game changers. Education and Information Technologies (2014). As the title implies, this book examines the “knowledge revolution” and the significant changes it is having on the tools and processes that can improve the quality, flexibility, and scalability of post-secondary education.
- Mobile Learning Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training (2008). Although already dated, I found this edited book a valuable introduction to mobile learning and its influence on the future of distance education.
- The Learning and Technology Library (EDITLib). Online resource for aggregated, peer-reviewed research on the latest developments and applications in Learning and Technology by the world’s leading publications and authors.
- Theory and Practice of Online Learning (2008). This award-winning book covers a range of topics related to online learning, with theoretical background – check out the useful discussion on interaction in online learning in Chapter 2.
An understanding of adult learning is central to designing and delivering effective curriculum and activities for M&E training. There is a wealth of literature on this topic, and it is complex and contentious, largely because adults are complex systems for which no one explanatory model or theory is fully satisfactory.
Further below I recommend some freely available resources on the topic. But parting from most of the recommended resources on this webpage, I first recommend some books that generally are not available for free online. Firstly, I recommend Chapter 4 on Adult Learning in our book, Monitoring and Evaluation Training: A Systematic Approach (Chaplowe & Cousins, 2016); this provides a concise overview of the subject as it related to M&E training, covering key concepts and practice, and concluding with a list of adult learning principles for M&E (see link to this list below).
Three classics on adult learning are The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development (Knowles, Swanson, & Holton, 2012), Adult Education and Lifelong Learning: Theory and Practice (Jarvis, 2004), and Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development, (Kolb, 1984). I also recommend the book by Beard and Wilson (2006), Experiential Learning: A Best Practice Handbook for Educators and Trainers, with an insightful conceptual framework (diagnostic tool) of different aspects of the overall learning system.
The book, Learning in Adulthood. A Comprehensive Guide, provides a thorough treatment on the topic that I found very useful (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007). I also highly recommend the book, Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning (Brookfield, 2001). For a more comprehensive coverage of the topic, you can consult the edited eight volumes of The International Encyclopedia of Education(Penelope, Baker, & McGaw, 2010).
Education involves underlying political/power considerations. Back in my university days, one of the most influential books I read on this topic, and which has had a considerable impact on the field of participatory development in general, is Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970). I also recommend the more recent book by Frank Youngman (2000), The Political Economy of Adult Education. A couple related books I recommend that discuss power considerations in the practicalities of education design and delivery are Learner-Centered Teaching: Five key Changes to Practice (Weimer, 2002), and like his other books that I have read, I found The Power of Critical Theory: Liberating Adult Learning and Teaching by Stephen Brookfield (2005) extremely insightful.
For readers looking for more concise overviews on adult learning and related topics, there are a variety of user-friendly, online resources to consider. In addition to Wikipedia and WikiBooks, consider the following:
- Adult Learning Principles for Effective M&E Training (2016). This blog summarizes draws from the book Monitoring & Evaluation Training: A Systematic Approach (Chaplowe & Cousins 2016) to summarize 14 key adult learning principles for M&E training, and brief tips to put them to practice.
- Classification of Learning Activities – Manual (2016). Initially from UNESCO, this publication has been updated and is now available from Eurostat. It provides an useful overview of the classification for lifelong learning (LLL) – formal, non-formal and informal learning – to support European Union data collection on adult learning.
- Big Dog & Little Dog’s Performance Juxtaposition. Recommend above for training in general, the webpage on Learning and the link there to the History of Learning & Training, provides a rich introduction to adult learning.
- Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). Sponsored by the United States Department of Education, readers can access over 1.5 resources on education research and information.
- Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching, and Technology (2001). This online book by Michael Orey has a variety of ‘short’ articles by different authors on topics such as Bloom’s taxonomy, learning-centered theories, and experiential learning.
- Infed. Hosted by the YMCA George Williams College, this online encyclopedia for informal education has useful, cited summaries on a range of key topics, from theory to practice.
- WikiEducator. This online resource has links to various content supporting the planning and development of educational programs, including a community portal.
Open Educational Resources
I include this last category of resources because it encompasses a host of resources that can support M&E learning and practice. OER offers teaching and learning materials freely available online for anyone, whether you are a practitioner, teacher, or learner. Like many of the categories on this webpage, the list of OER resources can be extensive, but I will limit myself to some notable ones I am familiar with.
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). There are a variety of online platforms that offer MOOCs from top universities and organizations worldwide for anyone to take, including subjects on M&E, training, and adult education. For example, check out Coursera and MOOC List.
- OER Commons. Created by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge management in Education, this is a open educational resources (OER) mainstay, linking visitors to the website to freely accessible OER and other freely available instructional materials.
- OpenCourseWare (OCW). There are a variety of online platforms that offer a range of freely available course lessons, many related to M&E, training and adult education. For example, search subjects at MIT’s Open Courseware website, or the website of the Open Education Consortium.
- OER Knowledge Cloud. This website, regularly updated by professional librarian and volunteers, has a database to a variety of journal articles, reports and books freely available. For example, A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER) from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and UNESCO is a valuable introduction to the topic.
- The Online Books Page. From the University of Pennsylvania, this is a great resource for free downloadable resources on a variety for topics; for example, search the subject Adult Education.