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Cutting-Edge Monitoring & Evaluation: A Guide for Practitioners

Written and delivered in accessible language, matches clarity with a depth of analysis, while bringing innovative thinking in an increasingly important function of the international development industry. If you wait until there is another cutting-edge course in monitoring and evaluation in the industry, you will be too late.


Emilio ValliProgram Officer, United Nations Volunteers


Enrolments are now open. 

  • Course price: US$475.- 

  • Dates: You can commence the course immediately after enrolment and 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 when required

  • Trainer: Dr Colin Jacobs

2010 - present

2010 - present

      Course Overview


This course provides a novel way of looking at the practice of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). The question “what difference are we making”– as an individual, project, programme, organisation or network, is increasingly important whether for learning or accountability. Through a series of modules, this course will lay out the challenges, introduce a tool-box of techniques and show where these can be best applied through practical strategies and case studies. To maximise contribution, the course views M&E as critical to all stages of a policy or programme’s development.  Ways of promoting early participation and the engagement of key stakeholders are explored and benefits and risks assessed. This lays the ground for M&E to make vital contributions to incentivising change and measure performance. In later sections techniques to measure impact and enable learning are provided.

      Course Objectives


Upon completion of the course the students will:

  • Understand the added value of M&E and importance of adapting to context and working with clients and beneficiaries;

  • Learn how to develop an effective evaluation framework;

  • Fully appreciate the challenges facing evaluators and how to address them with practical strategies;

  • Learn about various evaluation methods and how to choose the evaluation tools appropriate and relevant to the particular needs and context;

  • Be able to set practical strategies to ensure that M&E is fully integrated into the critical steps involved in development, humanitarian relief and policy environments;

  • Be able to apply evaluation strategies and principle-based framework in their own practice,

  • Be able to develop action planning with the view to improve MEAL function in the organisation/project/programme.

      Course Content


Overview and Introduction

Module 1: Context analysis and stakeholders mapping

Module 2: Most common challenges to M&E practitioners

Module 3: Evaluation methods: their variety, advantages/disadvantages and how to choose the appropriate evaluation methodology. Process Evaluations, Theory-based (Logframes and Theory of Change) and Impact Evaluation Methods: when and how to use; Introduction to Mixed Methods.

Module 4: Practical evaluation strategies and case studies

Module 5: Action planning and principle-based framework to build better practice of MEAL

      Course Methodology


This online self-paced course uses a combination of methods comprised of reading materials, video lectures and practical exercises to ensure practicality of the knowledge acquired. Case studies are used throughout the course to ensure a hands-on approach and the development of working skills. Some checklists are provided as a “memo” to help the learner apply the lessons drawn from the course once back in her/his work context.

      Target Audience


  • Anyone who commissions, manages or carries out project or programme M&E;

  • Evaluation advisors and consultants;

  • Internal and external evaluators;

  • Evaluation units of NGOs and UN agencies;

  • Project managers, policy makers and programme implementers;

  • Government agencies, legal & other specialist bodies;

  • Researchers and development graduate students. 




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 course coordinator via e-mail or post their questions on the course forum. The course coordinator will reply to any queries within a reasonable timeframe.


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.


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.


Time required for completion solely depends on the student. However, we recommend allocating at least 4-5 hours for every module.


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



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