Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

How to build evaluation into strategic and practical change

In this step you will learn to build evaluation into strategic and practical change.

Closeup of hands of people writing and planning out on a table.
When considering how evaluation makes a difference to organisations’ practice, there are different timescales to consider. These timescales also relate to the type of learning that the evaluation supports.

Agile approaches

Many approaches that incorporate evaluation within everyday processes result in rapid changes.

An example is within ‘agile’ methods (as developed in the 2000s in the software development sector).

In agile approaches, emphasis is placed on rapid delivery of working prototypes (often termed ‘minimum viable products’) that are shared with users, with the resulting feedback used to inform the next stage of development. This is a version of formative evaluation, with particularly fast cycles of feedback.

Embedded learning

Another way to achieve this is through ‘embedded learning’, where learning is integrated into the processes that people carry out on a day-to-day basis (e.g providing feedback on tasks as they are being done). Evaluation can be used this way either through formative feedback, or through the application of summative evaluation to a new activity or project:

  • to have an emphasis on learning
  • to embed ‘Psychological safety’ (as identified by Amy Edmondson)
  • clarity about project goals and outcomes (what happened and what did you want to happen?)
  • to make shared evidence available to all participants.

Establish a ‘learning culture’

A third approach is when evaluation is used to reshape an organisation’s thinking at a more fundamental level: not just impacting on individual projects, but also reshaping the underlying thinking (sometimes referred to as ‘doctrine’), or the unspoken assumptions that inform decisions more generally.

Achieving this requires establishing a ‘learning culture’ and becoming a ‘learning organisation’.

For a summary of the evidence on creating a ‘learning culture’, see this report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.

Time to reflect

  • What impact might your evaluation have in both a practical sense and on the strategic direction of your organisation?
Share and discuss your thoughts with other learners in the Comments section
This article is from the free online

Evaluation for Arts, Culture, and Heritage: Principles and Practice

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now