The Learning and Adaptation resource library is a selection of resources chosen to provide an introduction to learning and adaptation. Learning and adaptation are the ways in which projects can use data collected to make informed decisions about the implementation of their activities. The following resources include introductory materials, learning question/agenda development, and guidance on adaptive management, including how to collaborate with local stakeholders and participants to adaptively manage.

Introduction to Learning and Adaption

Learning Questions

  • Establishing a Learning Agenda |This guidance provides a basic process for developing a learning agenda. A learning agenda includes a (1) set of questions addressing the critical knowledge gaps impeding informed design and implementation decisions and (2) plans for learning activities to help answer those questions.
  • Tips for Creating a Learning Agenda |  This document outlines ways a learning agenda may benefit an operating unit or team and describes characteristics of an effective learning agenda; it offers general steps to aid in the development of this tool. This document was created with USAID in mind, but its contents are applicable to partners and other Agencies seeking to enhance organizational and program-related learning.
  • INFORMED: Learning Question Formulation in Eight Steps |This document provides an overview of the eight steps that comprise the INFORMED approach to formulating learning questions and provides detailed instructions and resources on how to operationalize these steps. It is a step-by-step guide to help users formulate learning questions in a systematic and intentional way via three options for tailoring your formulation process to your needs and resources.

Adaptive Management

Learning and Adaptive Management Approaches

  • Pause and Reflect | Pause and reflect is a component of learning and adaptive management, the act of taking time to think critically about ongoing activities and processes and plan for the best way forward. This page provides guidance and tools related to designing and facilitating pause and reflect sessions. 
  • After Action Review | The After Action Review (AAR) is a quick reflective exercise for team-based learning during a project or ongoing initiative, in order to improve results in the current project. This document provides guidance on using and facilitating an AAR. 
  • Theory of Change Review as an Adaptive Management Tool |This blog details how to use TOC review as a tool to reflect on and learn from evidence and experience to-date in order to inform adaptation, innovation, and improvement in activity implementation and management.
  • Liberating Structures Facilitation Methods | Five conventional structures guide the way we organize routine interactions and how groups work together: presentations, managed discussions, open discussions, status reports and brainstorm sessions. Liberating Structures add 33 more options to the big five conventional approaches.
  • Facilitating Intentional Group Learning: A Practical Guide to 21 Learning Activities | This practical guide from FSG is intended to help a wide array of practitioners better understand how and when to use group learning activities to intentionally support and facilitate continuous learning through reflection and dialogue.  The Guide provides a curated repository of 21 activities that create the ideal environment for reflection and dialogue that lead to new insights and understandings.  From quick 20-minute activities to multi-hour gatherings, this guide provides detailed instructions on how to conduct high-energy, inclusive, and productive experiences.