Participants from the Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation for Learning IDS short course in 2022 stand around in a circle with chairs behind them and white boards with writing on them in the background. There are windows at the back of the room where trees and bushes surround the room in the IDS building. Participants from the Participatory Monitoring course in 2022 in the IDS building. IDS ©

Specialist short course

ParticipatOry Monitoring and Evaluation for Learning

Develop your skills to more effectively design and improve monitoring and evaluation systems supporting participatory and adaptive practice. 

Please note, we are also running a course in Using Participatory Action Research to Improve Development Practice for practitioners, consultants and researchers which explores participatory research more broadly – its principles, design and facilitation – and does not go in depth into evaluation. The Participatory Monitoring & Evaluation for Learning course is for project and programme staff and academics whose focus is evaluation.

Increasingly, development organisations are using complexity-aware, learning-based approaches to design and drive their monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems. This enables practitioners to better understand how change actually happens and how impact is achieved in real time in complex social change contexts. There is also growing awareness of the need for downward accountability and supporting greater feedback from those engaging in interventions to those designing and funding them.

Participatory processes can provide practitioners with key insights into how the changes they desire to support (the impact sought) unfolds through the experiences of those engaged directly in the change processes – often marginalised and hard to reach populations. Unlike linear M&E systems whose indicators tend to speak largely to upward accountability demand, participatory and systemic methods are widely recognised for their ability to deeply engage stakeholders at all levels.

This training course is delivered through a partnership between IDS, Voices That Count and Analyzing Development Issues Centre (ADIC), Cambodia.

ADIC is a leading Cambodian organisation on action research in the region. It has led a network of NGOs using participatory research and monitoring & evaluation (M&E) in the Tonle Sap region, building capacity for participatory development through training, mentoring and implementing several high-profile research and development programmes. ADIC collaborates with the University of Utah, USA, and University of Mahidol, Thailand, conducting participatory action research projects and community mobilisation, along with ‘on the ground’ impact evaluation.

This course brings together the deep historical experience with participatory approaches and methods that IDS has pioneered, with the rich experience of Voices that Count in building and using systemic M&E.

The course features frontier methods for quality implementation of participatory processes at scale (with large numbers of people and across broader geographical space) to support learning focused and complexity-aware M&E systems.

“It’s time we connected up participatory and systemic approaches to M&E, this powerful combination has the potential to seriously deepen our understanding of how change actually happens!” – Marina Apgar, Course Convenor

Read some feedback from previous participants of this in-person specialist course:

“The course provided a supportive learning space, informed teaching and a rich diversity of participants all willing to share and listen – a wonderful opportunity to learn and reflect. Thank you.
“It was a wonderful learning experience, well-shaped and considered, offering moments to be challenged, to introspect and to plan. I leave with much to bring to my work and my colleagues.
“It was extremely validating, inspirational and gave us lots of practical ideas.

Course aims

To equip development planners and practitioners with the knowledge and skills to more effectively design and improve M&E systems and move towards a participatory and adaptive practice within projects, programmes and their organisations. 

Who should attend

Mid and senior-level development peacebuilding and humanitarian professionals working in government, NGO or community organisations who have some M&E and learning experience and have a particular interest in building more participatory, complexity-aware and adaptive processes.   

How you will learn

The course is designed to work with a maximum of 25 participants, to ensure highly participatory and tailored learning over five days. 

You will first be introduced to foundational approaches to participatory and adaptive practices for learning oriented evaluation systems.

Practitioners with deep experiences of methods in a range of contexts will share case studies from their own work to illustrate the qualities of particular methods. You will then explore how the methods can be applied in your own organisation or project and will work individually and in peer-support groups to develop your own participatory M&E design. 

The learning process is designed to enable you to learn from your peers as well as the facilitators through interactive sessions and we take time to have fun and get to know each other throughout the week.

Learning outcomes

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand where participatory and learning based approaches to M&E fit within broader approaches to evaluation and adaptive programming having explored major debates around accountability, learning, causation and methodological rigour.
  • Apply specific participatory methods to M&E processes having studied at least six key methods using case studies.
  • Critically interrogate and analyse methods, identify their strengths and weaknesses and understand how to adapt and contextualise their use. You will be aware of issues of rigour, ethics, scaleability, and ease of engagement particularly when using these methods with marginalised people.
  • Integrate methods in M&E design through a process of systematising and identifying opportunities to adapt participatory methods to address particular M&E challenges you are facing.
  • Develop a coherent plan to take back to your organisation which you will receive support in doing both during and after the training.
Contact us

Key information

Regency Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Register your interest

Register your interest for future versions of this course

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Key contacts

About this specialist short course

Programmes and centres
Centre for Development Impact

Core teaching team

Marina Apgar

Research Fellow

Voices That Count co-founder

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