Accepted Paper:

Building organisational capability in international development agencies: how to evaluate whether a 70:20:10 learning model works  


Rachel Roland (University of Wolverhampton)

Paper short abstract:

Linking to ongoing work with a large international development organisation, this paper puts forward and critiques a capability strengthening evaluation framework for a 70:20:10 organisational learning programme that seeks to improve development effectiveness.

Paper long abstract:

Within capacity development in international agencies the expectation, increasingly, is for organisational learning to take place through blended learning approaches. On such approach is a combination of 10% face-to-face training, 20% self-directed online learning and 70% "on the job" learning. Assessments of whether and how this popular 70:20:10 competency model works in international development organisations and whether it contributes to enhanced development effectiveness are, at best, embryonic, with researchers grappling to find robust measures not only of knowledge but also of skills and attitudes.

This paper reflects on the early experiences of developing an evaluation system for capability strengthening using a 70:20:10 blended approach in the UK Department for International Development. From a technical point of view it considers what metrics might enable a better understanding of whether and why non-linear learning pathways work, what it takes to commit to (blended) learning, and the shared responsibility between learner, organisation and educator. It outlines how we are attempting to measure learning outcomes in informal (experiential), social and formal situations and reflects on the challenges associated with evaluating what the impact these learning outcomes have on development effectiveness more broadly.

Panel D3
How do we know it works? Exploring methods for evaluating the impact of capacity strengthening in international development