Skip to main content
main-content

Über dieses Buch

This book aims to account for how project learning and adaptation occurs through Developmental Evaluation (DE), especially under conditions of uncertainty, complexity and change. Drawing on enactive cognitive science, the author presents a DE framework designed to augment traditional monitoring and evaluation activities. Discussing this framework in detail, the author also reports upon an extended case project investigating the sustainability of a market town in the UK. The framework aims to support the reader in capturing second-order learning and exploring opportunities for innovative responses to dynamic, uncertain and complex operational conditions. Recommendations are offered for future research, and how the framework might be incorporated into the design and funding of projects deployed to work with wicked problems.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Mitchell reviews a number of the challenges encountered in evaluating community-based sustainability and international developmental aid initiatives using traditional impact and process evaluation methods. Given the pressing urgency of the Anthropocene, Mitchell argues that project-based learning is an asset, and identifies developmental evaluation as an emerging approach that facilitates project actors to identify, acquire and use their experiential learning to innovate responses to wicked problems.
Andrew Mitchell

Chapter 2. Evaluating Complexity

Abstract
The findings from evaluations of community-based sustainability and international developmental aid initiatives are generally disappointing. Mitchell reviews the literature and concludes that the findings converge around an instrumental critique, which holds that the monitoring and evaluation frameworks and indicators are inappropriate or inadequate and that project practitioners are ill-equipped to collect, analyse and manage evaluation data, and a design error critique, which suggests that projects deployed to address complex and wicked problems are predicated on a linear design model. Mitchell introduces and discusses the developmental evaluation approach that supports practitioners to draw from their project-based experience to innovate and respond adaptively to complex operating conditions.
Andrew Mitchell

Chapter 3. Second-order Learning Systems

Abstract
Projects designed to respond to complex and wicked problems, such as sustainability and international development, may be significantly supported by a developmental evaluation approach that supports practitioners to optimise their experiential learning to innovate under complex conditions. However, as Mitchell argues, while developmental evaluation supports learning under complexity, it has yet to articulate an epistemological framework which accounts for how learning occurs under dynamic and uncertain circumstances. To address this, Mitchell draws on enactive cognitive science concepts to understand how we participate in constructing our own experience, and uses these insights to interact orthogonally with project practitioners to facilitate projects in becoming second-order learning systems, to learn both how to learn and the conditions under which such learning holds as relevant and valid.
Andrew Mitchell

Chapter 4. Community-based Sustainability Initiatives as Learning Systems

Abstract
By means of an extended case study community-based sustainability initiative, Mitchell introduces original empirical research into how the project practitioners shifted from being a first-order learning project to a second-order learning project. Drawing on concepts from enactive cognitive science to augment the practice of developmental evaluation as an approach to support practitioners utilise their experiential learning as an asset under conditions of complexity, Mitchell describes the thematic analysis of the case study initiative in becoming self-aware as a learning project, and the process of using orthogonal interactions during action research meetings to help introduce a disruption to habituated practices of observation. From these sites of rupture, new insights were generated about learning how to learn under uncertain and dynamic conditions.
Andrew Mitchell

Chapter 5. Concluding Remarks

Abstract
Projects deployed to respond to complex and wicked problems (e.g., sustainability and international development) are not well equipped to respond adaptively and innovatively to the significant challenges they face. While the developmental evaluation approach offers a welcome addition to the field of evaluation in that it supports project practitioners to optimise the use of their experiential learning, this approach has yet to articulate an epistemological framework that accounts for complexity or for learning under complex conditions. Drawing on empirical research and concepts from enactive cognitive science, Mitchell advances a framework for interacting orthogonally with practitioners to induce ruptures in the habituated patterns of observation to trigger fresh action options, and to participate actively in the generation of their own learning.
Andrew Mitchell

Backmatter

Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner

    Bildnachweise