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Top 3 Myths about Collaborating, Learning & Adapting

Misconceptions about collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) can seriously impact development outcomes. The Learning Lab website debunks three of the top myths the LEARN team often hears about CLA.

In working with USAID missions and implementing partners, the LEARN teams often hears a pretty consistent chorus of misconceptions about collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA). Unfortunately, these misconceptions often stop staff from integrating CLA approaches – such as testing theories of change, fostering open relationships with local stakeholders and partners or designing flexible mechanisms – into their existing work processes, which could ultimately increase their impact as development professionals.

Read on as we debunk the top three myths we have heard about CLA.

  • Myth #1: Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting takes too much time: The truth is, CLA is not something new. CLA aims to be more systematic and intentional so we can make the most of our development resources and not waste time, energy, and money using approaches that have been proven wrong or worse, reinventing a wheel that has already existed and failed to function.
  • Myth #2: It’s too difficult to figure out what our approach to CLA should be: We hear this all too often from USAID mission staff. The first step in developing a CLA approach is determining where CLA can have the greatest impact on a team’s performance. USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning & Learning and LEARN have developed a series of tools that can help you.
  • Myth #3: Monitoring and evaluation is separate from CLA: If we continue to separate monitoring, evaluation, and learning from each other, we will continue to do none of them well. To flip the script and put learning and adapting at the center of our M&E efforts, we have to see the potential of effective monitoring and evaluation for learning.

Clearly, M&E is part of learning and, hence, of CLA. A more systematic and intentional approach to CLA can help ensure that our M&E is designed with learning in mind, that data generated from M&E efforts is analyzed and synthesized to inform reflection and decision-making, and that what we learn is shared with those who need to know.

Click the link for the full article: https://usaidlearninglab.org/lab-notes/top-3-myths-about-collaborating%2C-learning%2C-and-adapting-debunked

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.