Sheila B. Robinson on Learning to Evaluate Innovation in Complex, Dynamic Environments: The DE Approach

Hello Evaluators! I’m Sheila B. Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor on yet another fabulous professional learning opportunity brought to you by the American Evaluation Association (AEA).

Lesson Learned: I’m fortunate to live in a community with a university that offers a program evaluation certificate. I had a wonderful evaluation professor and am indebted to her for turning me on to this exciting field. That being said, I have probably learned twice as much since graduation as I did during my studies, and I continue to learn about evaluation every day working on this blog, reading evaluation literature, and attending conferences when I can. That’s the beauty of evaluation – there is always more to learn as this field is growing, evolving, and adapting to global change.

AEA’s Coffee Break Webinars and eStudy courses have been a tremendous boon to voracious learners like me, and I’m especially excited about a great pair of eStudy courses starting soon.

Rad Resource:  Beginning Developmental Evaluation and Intermediate Developmental Evaluation will be presented by Michael Quinn Patton, evaluator extraordinaire, best known for his work in Developmental Evaluation (DE), along with Utilization-focused Evaluation (U-FE) and Qualitative Evaluation. Patton is also one of AEA’s “Dynamic Dozen,” presenters who have been recognized for their superb presentation skills.

According to the course description,  This evaluation approach involves partnering relationships between social innovators and evaluators in which the evaluator’s role focuses on helping innovators embed evaluative thinking into their decision-making processes as part of their ongoing design and implementation initiatives. DE can apply to any complex change effort anywhere in the world. Through lecture, discussion, and small-group practice exercises, this workshop will position DE as an important option for evaluation in contrast to formative and summative evaluations as well as other approaches to evaluation.

Hot Tip: Each of these eStudy courses features four 90-minute sessions for a total of 6 contact hours. Register for either or both courses according to your level of interest or expertise! For more information on these and other upcoming eStudies, and to register for courses, click here.

Cool Trick: If you’re not yet an AEA member, why not become one now? eStudy courses are a tremendous value and are priced just right for members, non-members, and students. It’s actually cheaper to purchase a membership with your first course, than it is to take two at the non-member price. And you’ll enjoy all the additional benefits of AEA membership. eStudy courses feature highly qualified and skilled instructors along with rigorous content at a fraction of the price of university courses.

Get involved: Who among us hasn’t been up against an evaluation challenge in an environment where participants, conditions, interventions, and context are turbulent, pathways for achieving desired outcomes are uncertain, and conflicts about what to do are high? I’m excited to learn more about this approach! Aren’t you?

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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