Novice to ninja: How to build deep evaluation know-how

From: Patricia Rogers & Jane Davidson

We have all been there. You dive into a new book or head to a conference/workshop/course and come out all fired up about a new evaluation method. But when you get back to the real world, applying it turns out to be harder than you thought!

What next?

Developing expertise and competence takes a lot more than just a one-shot training effort. And the journey to expertise differs for fairly straightforward technical skills (with quite specific guidance and steps to follow) compared to methods and approaches that need to be adapted to the situation, and for novice evaluators learning basic skills compared to experienced evaluators learning a new skill.

AEA_2017_BetterEval_part2This year, Patricia and Jane are teaming up at the AEA conference to explore this issue with you.

In this flipped conference session, we invite participants and evaluators, evaluation managers and evaluation capacity developers around the world to build and share knowledge about what can be done to support people to apply new evaluation knowledge in practice.

Together we will explore these questions:

Q1. What are the different options for supporting people to learn how to actually apply new methods?

Q2. Which options suit which situations – and what needs to be considered when matching options to situations?

Q3. How can these options be implemented well?


Here’s how to participate:

If you would like to be part of this session, live or virtually, here’s what to do:


Unlike a traditional conference session, we will be sharing materials beforehand for you to read, rather than using our face to face time to read them to you.

For each of the questions there is some brief material to read – with links to more detailed information to explore when it’s convenient

Q1. What are the different options for supporting people to learn how to actually  apply new methods?

Check out the list of options (on the BetterEvaluation site) for developing evaluation capacity.

Are we missing any? Suggest them by commenting on the page.

Q2. Which options suit which situations – and what needs to be considered when matching options to situations?

For an interesting list of factors to consider in the uptake of innovation (including characteristics of the innovation, the person adopting it, and their organization), check out this resource, by Trisha Greenhalgh and colleagues, which presents a conceptual framework from a systematic review of innovation in service organizations.

Are there additional factors to consider when adopting an evaluation innovation?  What are the implications of these factors? Add them in a comment here or on the BetterEvaluation evaluation capacity building page.

Q3. How can these options be implemented well?

Our page of examples will be progressively added to between now and the date of the conference session.

Do you have questions or comments about any of the examples? Add them as a comment on the page.

You can also read more about the different options, including exploring additional resources.



Do you have an example from your own experience of how you were supported to apply your new knowledge, or how you worked with others to do this for them?

Want to see an example of an example first? Jane has shared one already on the BetterEvaluation site, and there will be more to come.

>> Please share the details through this formYou can choose to identify yourself or to remain anonymous, and to attend the session or to contribute your example to be discussed by those at the session.



We’d love to see you at the session.  If you have contributed an example, you will have an opportunity to respond to questions and comments that have been submitted and the questions from participants.

If you haven’t been able to do the preparation for the session, you are welcome to join the outer ring of the ‘fishbowl’ for the session.

And if you’re unable to attend in person, you can follow the action through twitter (#eval17 is the hashtag for the conference, and you can also follow Jane and/or Patricia directly).  To convert to your local time, use this converter.



We will share the outcomes from the session through BetterEvaluation, including updating our list of options, and adding examples where permission has been given.  We will welcome your thoughts and comments after the session.

Please be in touch with us if you have any questions about the process.

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