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USAID Learning Lab

USAID Learning Lab is an interactive community where members can access and contribute to a growing repository of tools and resources on integrating collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) throughout the USAID Program Cycle. #CLA4Dev #adaptdev The opinions in this podcast do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States government.

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S1 Ep 4: Adapting for Better Development Results

This is the final episode in our series on how USAID is collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) with a look at the “A” in CLA: adapting. International development work is often criticized for not being locally led or context aware. By encouraging a CLA approach, USAID is creating space for staff and partners to adapt their strategies and projects in response to their operating environment and stakeholder feedback. Listen as we explore three USAID projects that have adapted and scaled up in response to lessons learned and changes in their local context. Find out what happened when: - A youth unemployment project in Tunisia wasn’t yielding jobs - A gender project in Jordan wasn’t meeting the community’s expectations- A multi-sector resilience project in the Sahel was designed to integrate CLA practices, and project managers identified opportunities for strategic collaboration In closing, USAID Foreign Service Officer David Ratliff explains what CLA has to do with Star Wars!

28mins

5 Jun 2017

Rank #1

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S1 Ep 3: How (and Why) is USAID Learning?

In fall 2016, USAID updated its operational policy to reflect its commitment to organizational learning. So how is USAID learning? And why does learning matter? Episode 3 of the USAID Learning Lab podcast zeroes in on the “L” in collaborating, learning and adapting at the project and organizational levels.First, we look at learning at the project level. Listen as Nathan Morrow, an associate research professor at Tulane University and finalist in the 2016 CLA Case Competition, explains how a resilience project in Somalia is using data collected via mobile communication technology to inform real-time program adaptations.And next, USAID LEARN monitoring, evaluation, research and learning specialists Laura Ahearn and Matthew Baker discuss a tool used throughout USAID for intentional and systematic learning at the organizational level: learning agendas.In closing, USAID Learning Lab members share why learning matters to them. Access the resources mentioned in this episode here: ow.ly/BJYX30bbGzE

28mins

25 Apr 2017

Rank #2

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S2 Ep 0: Introducing: From the Inside Out

USAID Learning Lab is back with a new podcast series called From the Inside Out: Achieving Better Development Outcomes through Collaborating, Learning and Adapting. Our four-episode pilot series, Collaborating, Learning and Adapting at USAID, provided an overview of the concept of CLA and featured deep-dive CLA case studies.This new series was designed to empower USAID staff and partners with evidence, tips and tools to collaborate, learn, and adapt in their day-to-day work. Listen as Stacey Young, Senior Learning Advisor and CLA Team Lead in USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning, Ian Lathrop, Communications Manager on the USAID LEARN contract, and Amy Leo, Communications Specialist on the USAID LEARN contract, discuss evidence on these topics from development and other fields, and reflect on their own work experience.

1min

23 Apr 2018

Rank #3

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S2 Ep 1: Going Beyond Technical Skills: How to Build an Adaptive Team

If change starts with people, then what should we consider when building collaborative, learning-focused teams? When development isn’t a linear process and success depends on much more than a set of technical skills, what kinds of skills and qualities should you look for when hiring?In this episode, you’ll hear from three development practitioners with insight on this question. (And if you’re wondering how to build a learning culture on your existing team, we’ve got you covered. Be sure to tune in to our next episode, which is on this very topic.)

33mins

28 Apr 2018

Rank #4

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S2 Ep 2: Staying Curious, Together: How to Create a Learning Culture

In this episode, we’ll discuss the key ingredients in a learning culture. First, we define what we mean by a learning culture. Next, we look at research that examines the relationship between CLA and measures of staff satisfaction and empowerment at USAID. And in our third segment, we talk about a successful staff empowerment initiative at a USAID mission.

36mins

7 May 2018

Rank #5

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S3 Ep 1: Introducing: Leaders in Learning

Leaders in Learning is a 7-part podcast series hosted by Stacey Young, Senior Learning Advisor and Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting Team Lead in USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning; and Piers Bocock, Chief of Party for the USAID LEARN contract. The series draws on interviews that Stacey and Piers conducted with a variety of thought leaders in organizational learning and knowledge management in the international development sector. The first episode provides an overview of the series, including its purpose, theory of change, and the lineup of the experts whose interviews provide the food for thought in each episode.

23mins

12 Jun 2018

Rank #6

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S2 Ep 3: Meeting Strategically: How to Collaborate, But Not Too Much

In this episode, we discuss look at evidence from the business sector on the negative effects of over-collaboration. Next, we reflect on the way our teams collaborate and then talk about six strategies for strategic collaboration and what they look like at USAID.

30mins

12 May 2018

Rank #7

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S2 Ep 5: Stopping to Think: Why it Pays to Pause and Reflect

In the fifth and final episode in the Inside Out series, we discuss a topic that we’ve touched on throughout the series: Pause and Reflect. Taking the time to Pause and Reflect is an essential CLA practice that leads to evidence-based decision making and adaptation. First, we’ll explore evidence that group reflection leads to learning and decision-making. Next, we will discuss two opportunities for USAID staff and partners to use Program Cycle processes to pause and reflect. In our third segment, we discuss some of the ways that our team has built Pause and Reflect moments into the way we work.While this series is wrapping up, we’ve got another one in the works! Listen until the end of this episode for a preview of our upcoming series, Leaders in Learning, which will be released starting in mid-June 2018.

28mins

28 May 2018

Rank #8

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S2 Ep 4: Staying in the Loop: How to Learn from your Data

Evidence-based decision-making is a powerful tool for transforming USAID from the Inside Out. In this episode, we’ll talk about where we see this happening in other industries, and why it can be challenging at USAID. We will also discuss two examples of innovative learning initiatives at USAID missions.

27mins

18 May 2018

Rank #9

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S3 Ep 2: Why does learning matter in international development?

Leaders in Learning is a 7-part podcast series hosted by Stacey Young, Senior Learning Advisor and Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting Team Lead in USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning; and Piers Bocock, Chief of Party for the USAID LEARN contract. The series draws on interviews that Stacey and Piers conducted with a variety of thought leaders in organizational learning and knowledge management in the international development sector.In episode two, Piers and Stacey reflect on their conversations with Duncan Green, Gwen Hines, and Karen Mokate (pictured with Piers and Stacey, right) on the topic of why learning matters in international development. They frame learning as a tool for addressing complexity, improving the way teams and organizations work, and, most importantly, achieving better development results.

40mins

13 Jun 2018

Rank #10