Learning and Knowledge Management (LEARN)

Ensuring that knowledge and lessons learned are used for greater development impact.

Context

A learning culture enables U.S. foreign assistance agencies and partners to be more effective in their work, increase their development impact, and evolve to meet new challenges. Donors recognize why systematic learning approaches should be integrated into their work but need to develop strategies for how to do so.

 

Approach

Through the LEARN contract, Dexis provides USAID with analytical and demand-based support for its collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) efforts. Through core funding from the USAID Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning (PPL) as well as more than 30 project buy-ins from missions around the world, LEARN is USAID’s flagship initiative to support organizational learning and capacity building to become more knowledge-driven and responsive; help USAID transform itself into an extended learning organization; and improve the self-reliance of its stakeholders around the world through systematic, intentional, and resourced learning and knowledge management.

Driven by LEARN’s commitment to “walk the talk” of CLA by adopting the tools, practices, and approaches it promotes, the team engages with more than 60 missions and 12 Washington, D.C–based USAID operating units to develop a range of CLA tools, practices, and capacity. LEARN supports missions to integrate CLA into program cycle processes including country development cooperation strategy (CDCS) development, portfolio reviews, midcourse stocktaking, CLA, and monitoring, evaluation, and learning plan development. The program promotes the use of practical tools and approaches for tacit and explicit knowledge capture, synthesis, and sharing by developing, managing, and curating knowledge-sharing platforms, resources, and processes.

Go to the Learning Lab website to access tools and resources on CLA!

Achievements

  • Working with the USAID/PPL CLA team to develop the CLA Framework and Key Concepts, and the CLA Self-Assessment and Action-Planning Process.
  • Providing specific and targeted CLA technical assistance and process facilitation to more than 30 missions and six bureaus.
  • Developing the Agency’s first comprehensive CLA Training, an interactive, skills-based, five-day course that has been delivered in Washington and four regional missions with representatives participation from more than 38 missions and six bureaus.
  • Creatively engaging external stakeholders by managing USAID Learning Lab, a collaborative learning space for USAID staff and partners, and related social media and communications channels, including the Learning Lab blog, podcast, and CLA Toolkit.
  • Establishing an annual Case Competition to help build a database of real examples of CLA in action – more than 200 cases are now available on the USAID Learning Lab website.
  • Establishing a comprehensive evidence base for CLA (EB4CLA) to explore the connection between intentional, systematic, and resourced CLA and improved program effectiveness.
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