Different organizations have developed several models to advance learning and adaptation in their work. Here is an overview of two of these models and additional resources on each of them.
CLA is USAID’s framework for operationalizing adaptive management in the project cycle. CLA includes strategic collaboration and continuous learning for adaptive management and the conditions that enable these processes. The table below summarizes the components of the CLA framework and is adapted from Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting Framework & Key Concepts for civil society organizations.
CLA in the Program Cycle
||Technical Evidence Base
||Pause & Reflect
||Theories of Change
|M&E for Learning
|Relationships & Networks
||CLA in Implementing Mechanisms
|Continuous Learning & Improvement
Are you interested in more resources on CLA?
- CLA Toolkit: This website includes an overview to the CLA framework and links to key resources to guide users on how to apply it.
- Discussion Note: Adaptive Management: This document explores USAID’s use of adaptive management and includes promising practices and practical approaches on how to operationalize adaptive management at each phase of the project cycle.
- CLA Framework, Maturity, Tool and Spectrum Handouts: This website includes an overview and resources to assess current CLA practices and/or plan for applying CLA in the future. The tool is written for USAID missions but could be useful for other organizations seeking to apply CLA.
- SCS Global’s Implementation Tips for USAID Partners on Integrating Learning into Projects (Resources not yet available): USAID’s CLA Framework and Integrating Adaptive Management into Projects: These tips provide overviews of USAID’s CLA and adaptive management approaches and related resources.
- CLA and GESI: It is important to incorporate CLA into your project’s Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) approach. For more information on how a USAID project in Nepal applied CLA to its GESI action plans, refer to Using a CLA Approach in Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Action Planning. For more information on GESI and its importance for P/CVE projects, refer to the GESI Cross-Cutting Section.
Strategy Testing is a monitoring system that The Asia Foundation developed specifically to track programs that are addressing complex development problems. The system uses a highly iterative, adaptive approach. This model is designed to capture learning and inform adaptations related to program strategies.
The Strategy Testing resource describes the rationale for this model and how it can be applied. This quick reference document provides key tools that The Asia Foundation uses in the Strategy Testing process.
The Asia Foundation provides additional resources on its approach to adaptive management and how it has applied Strategy Testing.
What other M&E approaches are relevant for learning and adaptation?
Developmental Evaluation (DE)
The purpose of DE is to support the development of innovative projects in highly complex contexts or in response to changing conditions. In conducting a DE, evaluators use evaluation tools, empirical data, and critical thinking in frequent cycles, working in close collaboration with key stakeholders in a process of adaptive learning. Evaluators facilitate a process of conceptualizing, designing, and testing activities that are new or are adapting to major change.
Complexity-aware monitoring (CAM) is a type of complementary monitoring that is useful when results are difficult to predict due to dynamic contexts or unclear cause-and-effect relationships. When the ability to predict outcomes and causal pathways is decreased, complexity-aware monitoring data provides a fuller range of outcomes, causal factors, and pathways of contribution.
Refer also to the M&E Module for more information on when to use CAM and to the section on complexity in this module for more information on why complexity is relevant for P/CVE projects.