Why monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) is key to creating learning organizations

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July 23, 2019

Why monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) is key to creating learning organizations

By Mike Culligan

Director, Learning Solutions Architecture Humentum

When Peter Senge first coined the term ‘learning organization’, he argued that the only sustainable source of competitive edge is an organization’s ability to learn faster and better than its competitors. In the development and relief sector, becoming a learning organization is especially important, because are we continuously confronted with complex and rapidly-changing challenges. 

So, what does it mean to be a learning organization? A learning organization is skilled at acquiring knowledge and can adapt its behavior to reflect new knowledge. In our sector, where the majority of our work is conducted by project-based organizations, strong monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) are key to ensuring that we are able to acquire knowledge and adapt our projects accordingly.

This is why Humentum, Catholic Relief Services and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, have been working together to develop an entire learning program focused on increasing the capacity of project-based teams in the area of MEAL.

In June, we launched the first MEAL DPro Flex. Over 90 learners, based in more than a dozen countries, enrolled in the course to learn how to establish robust MEAL systems. The latter requires developing logic models, collecting data, analyzing data, interpreting data and using data to more effectively manage their projects. The eight-week online course was based on the contents of the Guide to the MEAL DPro (downloadable here) and used a variety of learning assets, including online modules, social learning discussions, free downloadable resources, practice tests and more.

The MEAL DPro Flex was created to bridge the gap between the classroom and the workplace. It was also designed to be learner-focused, providing highly practical skills and introducing tools that participants can adapt for use in their daily work.  

Learners who were unable to participate in the MEAL DPro Flex have two options to access MEAL learning resources:

  • Humentum is planning to conduct additional MEAL DPro Flex courses in August and October this year.  Learn more here;
  • The Kaya learning platform has eight self-led eLearning modules that are based on the Guide to the MEAL DPro and which allow you to start your MEAL learning today.  

MEAL helps project teams manage adaptively in complex, dynamically-changing environments, in turn, helping promote the broader organizational learning agenda. Even more importantly, it helps ensure that our project resources are used responsibly and invested in ways that most benefit the communities we serve.

Learn more

The MEAL learning suite is the third learning collaboration between the Humanitarian Leadership Academy and Humentum. Be sure to visit the Kaya platform to learn more about Project Management and Financial Management learning programs. All three programs are designed by, and for, development and relief professionals, and focus on the critical skills project teams need to manage their project-based activities successfully.

Discover the MEAL DPro Flex course today

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