Saludos from the Dominican Republic! My name is Molly Hamm, and I’m the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Coordinator for the educational non-profit organization The DREAM Project as well as the author of the evaluation blog Learning Culture.
Rad Resource – Learning Culture: My blog—still shy of its one-year anniversary—is all about asking and answering interesting questions. The content is mostly focused on the intersection of evaluation, international development, and education. Each post is meant to be a blend of provocative questions, reflective thinking, and practical takeaways. Updates happen approximately once per month, though sometimes I post more frequently (especially if I’ve invited in a guest blogger!)
Hot Tips: Favorite posts: As a relatively new blogger, I’m still growing and curating my content. My favorite posts tend to be those where I share “aha! moments” or those which have sparked interesting conversations either face-to-face or on Twitter. Here are a few posts that satisfy those criteria:
- May 2, 2013: The threat of convergent thinking in M&E for international development
- June 24, 2013: You can’t make a pig fat by weighing it!
- September 16, 2013: Reclaiming evidence and impact: The case for context
- November 10, 2013: Are enabling environments in evaluation actually disabling?
Lessons Learned: Why I blog: I’m an avid reader and writer. While I initially pursued a career as a high school English teacher, my relentless exploration of world literature—local stories told by local voices led me to international education and development. Evaluation, for me, became a way to uncover, weave together, and tell stories to new audiences. Blogging has given me a new platform to exercise this process and, more importantly, it allows me to stay critical of my own practice while facilitating debate and reflection among other evaluators. I feel like I’ve done my blogging job well if I can shape my own thoughts while prompting others to think in new ways—bonus points if others engage in my work to challenge my ideas and/or suggest new areas to explore!
Lessons Learned: What I’ve learned: It can be tough to maintain the momentum once you start a blog. Good writers write every day, and I strongly believe that this is true no matter what medium you choose for your writing. I’d like to put this technique into practice with Learning Culture so that I’m constantly developing my ideas (and my posts). I don’t need to publish a post per day, but I do need to let my creative juices flow more often!
This winter, we’re continuing our occasional series highlighting evaluators who blog. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.