CLEAR Week: Marike Noordhoek on Knowledge management and learning: the glue connecting M&E efforts to use of the evidence generated

I’m Marike Noordhoek, Senior Knowledge Management Officer at the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group, which houses the CLEAR Global Hub. The Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR Initiative) is a unique global monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacity development program to promote the use of evidence in decision-making. Given our field of work, “knowledge management and learning” (KML) thinking is central. Today I’m sharing some thoughts and resources on KML.

Lessons Learned:

If you’ve been following job trends in the M&E community, you’ll have seen a blossoming of M&E jobs that tie both knowledge management and learning into the duties. For example, many positions that at one time might have been advertised simply as M&E Officer, are now “MEL Officer” for M&E *and* learning.

For evaluators, KML can function as the glue between M&E activities and the actual use of the data and insights generated. Building KML into your evaluation efforts helps to prevent your insights and critical lessons from being stuck in thick reports, and instead enlivened and shared. Documentation, dissemination and communication processes need to be built in from the outset in the evaluation design to ensure that the full cycle of learning is completed. Understanding of the nature and characteristics of knowledge is required to close the ‘knowledge gap’. But for many evaluators, the need for this, let alone the skill set is not always evident.

So, as a first step in closing the ‘knowledge gap’ I’m sharing 5 key resources to introduce you to the field of KML that are well worth reading.

Rad Resources:

  1. How to Talk about Knowledge Management( This paper helps you to get past the point of debating what KM is, so you can focus on what to do.
  1. The New Edge in Knowledge, written by Carla O’Dell, the Director of APQC. The book offers very practical KM insights and approaches.
  1. What is Knowledge Management? This blog by KM guru Steve Denning gives insight in some of the definitions used and the real purpose of KM.
  2. Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning: An International Development Perspective. Working Paper 224. Overseas Development Institute. This paper by I. Hovland maps out the rationale and objective of KM and learning within international development.
  1. The websites of David Gurteen and Nick Milton provide short blogs and background reading on KM.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members of CLEAR. 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 aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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