I’m Maurya West Meiers. I work at the World Bank as a Senior Evaluation Officer and am coauthor of A Guide to Assessing Needs: Essential Tools for Collecting Information, Making Decisions, and Achieving Development Results (available for free here).
My needs assessment and evaluation work often centers around areas of learning, capacity building, organizational development, management, performance, change management, and related topics. For that reason, I often rely on models and resources from many diverse fields to help me “frame” my work. These models and frameworks can also be helpful in designing your data collection instruments, by giving you a starting point when preparing a set of categories or lists to which informants can respond in areas you want to probe. The following are some of my favorite models or resources for assessing learning, building capacity, improving performance, and managing change:
- John Wedman’s Performance Pyramid in Evaluation. This is a framework and process for identifying, analyzing, and addressing the barriers to optimal performance in the workplace, which Wedman laid out in a previous AEA365 post.
- Thomas Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model (BEM) and his Performance Matrix. Gilbert looks at factors of performance (the environment and the individual’s behaviors), examined from three perspectives of information, instrumentation, and motivation. Learn more here, or explore his seminal book: Human Competence: Engineering Worthy Performance.
- Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline book remains an inspiration, and provides an approach for understanding 5 learning disciplines to build learning capacity – Personal Mastery, Mental Models, Shared Vision, Team Learning and Systems Thinking.
- The Capacity Development Results Framework, developed in the last 10 years by my former colleagues in the World Bank Institute, is an approach to the design, implementation, monitoring, management, and evaluation of development programs. For teams working on capacity development in international development programs, it is a handy tool for breaking down and measuring areas of capacity development. The BetterEvaluation team has also put together a nice page with other approaches for planning and assessing capacity development
If you are looking for more models, frameworks or approaches on these and related topics, check out the following.
Needsassessment.org pages on models and theories. Ryan Watkins, manager of this page and my coauthor on A Guide to Assessing Needs, has put together these handy resources on models and theories for needs assessment.
The International Society for Performance Improvement is a good source for learning more about models and approaches and connecting with others interested in these topics, commonly termed Human Performance Technology (HPT).
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Needs Assessment (NA) TIG Week with our colleagues in the Needs Assessment Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our NA TIG members. 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.