When Peter Senge first coined the term “learning organisation”, he argued that the only sustainable source of competitive edge is an organisation’s ability to learn faster and better than its competitors. In the development and relief sector, becoming a learning organisation is especially important, because we are continuously confronted with complex and rapidly-changing challenges.
So what does it mean to be a learning organisation? A learning organisation is an organisation skilled at acquiring knowledge,and is able to adapt its behavior to reflect new knowledge. In our sector, where the majority of our work is conducted by project-based organisations, strong Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) are a key to ensuring that we are able to acquire knowledge and adapt our projects accordingly.
This is why the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, Catholic Relief Services and Humentum 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 March, we worked together to launch our first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on MEAL. Over 2,400 learners, based in nearly 100 countries, enrolled in the course to learn how to establish strong MEAL systems by developing logic models, collecting, analyzing, interpreting and using data to more effectively manage their projects. The free, 4-week 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 MOOC was designed to bridge the gap between the classroom and the workplace. It was designed to be learner-focused, providing highly practical skills and introducing tools that participants can adapt for use in their daily work.
“I found this course to be of great use, it has enriched my knowledge on MEAL activities. The follow-up posts, replies and quiz were very much useful in expanding my knowledge of the discussed topics. Thank you very much for this great effort!” – Zaid
Learners who were unable to participate in this first MOOC have two options to access MEAL learning resources:
– The Humanitarian Leadership Academy and Humentum are planning to conduct a second MEAL MOOC later this year. Be sure to sign up to the Academy’s e-newsletter so that you can be advised the course dates;
– The Kaya eLearning platform has 8 self-led eLearning modules that are based on the Guide to the MEAL DPro and which allow you to start your MEAL learning today.
Strong MEAL helps project teams manage adaptively in complex, dynamically-changing environments, in turn helping promote the larger organizational learning agenda. However, even more importantly, it helps ensure that our project resources are used responsibly and are invested in ways that most benefit the communities we serve.
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 the Project Management and the 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 successfully manage their project-based activities.