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Learning to Adapt:

A Guide to Real-Time Evaluation and Adaptive Management

The course has help frame better my understanding on Adaptive management. The use of case studies from different contexts outside humanitarian settings and reading materials are valuable as it gives you insight in navigating the world of AM. The course is exciting and pushes your boundaries to think differently as well as encourages you to experiment, learn, innovate and adapt! Thanks to Dr. Colin for putting the great resources together and the valuable feedback provided.


Pat Ryan Gaid, MEAL Advisor - World Vision International

I would highly recommend taking this course. It provided me with practical, real-world examples of how to address issues of complexity and unpredictability in M&E, and the high quality resources provided were invaluable.

Denika Blacklock, Independent M&E Consultant


  • Course price: US$575.- 

  • Dates: Enrolment is now open 

  • After receiving an access to the course material you can study for as long as you need at your own pace. We will provide you with support throughout your studies.

  • Format:  Self-paced with trainer support whenever required

  • Trainer: Dr Colin Jacobs

2010 - present

      Course Overview


This course brings together the two exciting new areas of Real Time Evaluation (RTE) and Adaptive Management (AM) which combine to offer huge potential for the M&E practitioner, particularly in complex and uncertain environments. Whether evaluating Humanitarian Assistance or Development projects and programmes, there is a need to learn quickly. What exactly is an RTE/AM approach and how can it help in unstable or conflict affected situations? Do M&E practitioners need to ditch their standard approaches in jumping on this latest bandwagon? What can you do if there is no counterfactual or dataset? This modular course covers these challenges and more. It lets you see how individuals and organisations can respond to provide real-time insights to steer programmes and projects. It takes a strategic approach discussing entry points, design and effective engagement, whilst also offering practical tips and methodologies. Case studies across a wide range of countries and topics are used to illustrate effective use and application.

      Course Objectives


Upon completion of the course the students will:

  • Understand why Adaptive Management is becoming increasingly important for international humanitarian and development workers;

  • Possess the know-how and skills to make a valuable contribution to this important new field;

  • Appreciate distinctions between a programme and actor-oriented approach, and adapt their approach accordingly;

  • Be able to develop practical strategies to match the purpose, audience and available resource;

  • Increase their influence over decision makers, policy and programme interventions.

      Course Content


Overview and Introduction

Module 1: Adaptive Management – context and main stakeholders

Module 2: Getting Started

Module 3: Relevant Methods and Tools

Module 4: Real world practice and strategies

Module 5: Way forward


Dr Colin Jacobs

is a senior consultant in governance, justice and civil society with particular experience in monitoring, evaluation and learning. He has more than 25 years’ experience in international development in Asia, Sub Sahara Africa, central Asia and Europe. He has held senior corporate and contract roles, most recently as Head, Governance and Civil Society at British Council and President, UK Evaluation Society. Colin has extensive experience in designing, implementing, evaluating and quality assurance of a range of large-scale donor programmes. He specialises in areas of policy, capacity building, institutional development, leadership and behavioural change.


Colin has key expertise in formative M&E techniques, including a design of M&E frameworks, process evaluation, theory-based evaluations, participatory approaches, contribution analysis, log frames, and results chain models. He has used a wide range of qualitative data collection methods, including Most Significant Change methods, Outcome Mapping, Perception Surveys, Qualitative Case Studies, Key Informant Interviews, Focus Group Discussions and Return on Investment methods.

Colin has led several Theory of Change workshops and has highly effective presentational skills.


He is a qualified trainer and Fellow of CIPD.


2010 - present

      Course Methodology


This online self-paced course comprises of reading materials, video- lectures and practical exercises to ensure practicality of the knowledge acquired. Case studies throughout the course are used to ensure the hands-on approach and development of practical skills in evaluation of Adaptive Management, etc. Checklists, tips and templates are provided to students to enhance their effectiveness.

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will receive a certificate with a unique ID number. The certificate can then be verified by an employer by email enquiry on TRAASS’s website.

      Target Audience


  • International staff from donor, humanitarian and relief sectors

  • Commissioners of projects and programmes

  • Monitoring and Evaluation Practitioners

  • External Evaluation Consultants

  • Evaluation Units and Internal Evaluators

  • Operational Departments/Project Management/ Directors

  • Policy Makers/ Advisers/Legal & Other Specialist bodies




Reading and studying materials are provided. Students are encouraged to use the forum or chat to share knowledge and ideas. Students can also contact the trainer via e-mail or post their questions on the course forum. The trainer will reply to any queries within a reasonable timeframe.


Time required for completion solely depends on the student. However, we recommend allocating at least 3-4 hours for every module.


Experience of managing or conducting one or several evaluation project(s) is desirable but not mandatory.



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