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Are we a learning organisation | Practical tools and tips

These resources will support you to reflect on how you embed learning from evaluations into your ongoing work, as well as how you can build a culture that enables continuous learning and action. Prompts, checklists, and self-assessment can help you identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to key parts of your organisation – such as leadership, values, and systems – that can help or hinder your learning journey. 

Starting point

Start here if you are a youth practitioner new to evaluation and quality improvement design:

Understand your programme strengths and areas for improvement with the Confidence Framework​

Gain an insight into how confident you are as an organisation across a number of domains of learning. This tool is a way of assessing the strength and overall balance of different types of evidence for your program or overall service, and identify where developments or changes could improve the service or programme's quality, consistency and impact.

Download the framework

A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Analysis​

Have you considered doing a SWOT analysis on your monitoring and evaluation activities? ​

Learn more

Asking good questions about why you do what you do

If you’re starting out, then this introduction and workbook developed by the College is a great place to begin. It will help you reflect on the assumptions underpinning your youth provision, examine the evidence that points to the need for your work, and establish a strong rationale for it.

Download here

FSG introduction to Systems Mapping

A brief introduction to systems mapping as one way to support a ‘systems change’ approach to your work, including resources for different types and methods of systems mapping. 

Read here


Goals are a great way to put learning into action, but without an explicit equity and inclusion component, goals won’t produce better outcomes for those who are at the sharp end of inequities. SMARTIE stands for Strategic, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic, Time-bound, Inclusive, and Equitable, and offers one way to embed an equity and inclusion component within your goal-setting. 

Read here


Resources to build on your experience of evaluation frameworks and continuous quality improvement: 

Data for Action: Data Strategy and Question Mapping Tool

This tool from Tom French will help any organisations with social purpose to start thinking about the data they need to answer the questions they have, where it comes from, and how it all relates back to their strategy and mission.

Browse here

Tools for Systems Thinkers: Systems Mapping

This article shares a range of analogue (non-digital – or pen and paper!) approaches to systems mapping. 

Read here

NPC: Systems mapping multiple disadvantage

An example of a systems map from NPC’s research into what influences the recovery journeys of adults experiencing multiple disadvantage, as part of their work with Fulfilling Lives Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. 

View here

A PESTLE Analysis

If you’re wondering how external factors, pressures and events affect your evaluation activities, you might want to do a PESTLE analysis. 

Read here

Your Own Business and Strategic Plans

Where does impact evaluation fit in your wider organisational planning? Consider making it a key element of your strategic and business plans. 

Read here
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Case study

An organisation received two years of funding to deliver a youth social action project. They were not able to secure additional funding to continue the specific project, however they were able to learn a lot about the benefits of connecting the young people who were involved with members of their local communities. At the end of the project, they ran two sessions with the young people who had been involved to develop some best practice tips on community engagement, and wrote this up as an internal guide. This guide helped to inform conversations that explored whether they could introduce a new community engagement strand to one of their core programmes – building on the learning from their social action project.​