Author: Lant Pritchett, Salimah Samji, and Jeffrey Hammer
Year: 2013
Full Citation: Pritchett, L., Samji, S., & Hammer, J. (2013). It’s all about MeE: Using structured experiential learning (“e”) to crawl the design space. (CGD Working Paper 322). Washington, D.C: Center for Global Development.
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Overview: The authors introduce a model of experiential learning (“e”) as part of Monitoring and Evaluation design, thus the change from M&E to MeE. They argue that the structured experiential learning in MeE “provides a space for innovation and organizational capacity building as well as accountability and evidence base for funding agencies”. Elaborating the past generations of M&E approaches and their weaknesses, Pritchett et al describe a 7 step process to apply their MeE approach. They are:
  1. Reverse engineer from goals back to instruments;
  2. Design a project;
  3. Admit we do not know what will work;
  4. Identify key dimensions of the design space;
  5. Select new alternative project variants;
  6. Strategically crawl the design space;
  7. Implement the approved sequential crawl and learn.
The authors do not encourage applying this structured experiential learning for all projects, but for pilot projects and for situations with complex social relationship [as in environments affected by crisis and conflict]. MeE can only be implemented effectively by organization that have an explicit learning strategy that supports innovation. The learning strategy here is the mix of monitoring to support “organizational accountability and provide real time information for active management”, ‘Experiential learning’ serves as dynamic feedback loop for decisions to adjust the programs accordingly, while rigorous impact evaluations provide strong estimates of the causal impact of projects on outcomes.
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