Evaluation has a vital role to play in the cycle of feedback, learning and improved development effectiveness. To fulfill this role, at the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) we not only promote continuous learning, but we also practice it.

While IEG recruits individuals with exceptional evaluation skills and expertise in various disciplines, the dynamic nature of the world, the changing field of international development, and the ongoing evolution of the World Bank Group necessitate that staff continuously refine their skills and practices.

Making time for learning

The commitment to staff learning is a cornerstone of IEG’s adaptability and growth. Staff learning is seen as an implicit, yet integral component of IEG’s theory of change. This commitment is embodied in the IEG Academy—a dedicated team focused on learning. Every year, regardless of the demands of the work program, a period known as ‘Learning Days’ is carved out to provide a structured, protected opportunity for learning.

To get a sense of the scale of the commitment: the 2024 Learning Days spanned six days, included 20 learning sessions, and the participation of over 130 IEG staff. The focus was on the range of skills that are vital for quality, accessible and influential evaluations. The topics are selected through a governance process using inputs from learning needs assessments, staff surveys, and prioritization from a steering committee and senior leadership. Together, IEG staff engaged in almost 60 hours of learning, with sessions ranging from evaluation design and data analysis to writing and communication.

Learning to be an effective organization

The 2024 Learning Days included courses that are part of a new Foundations of Evaluation Design curriculum. This program will continue beyond Learning Days. This curriculum includes a certification for Portfolio Review and Analysis, a pillar of evaluation methodology requiring specialized skills in data analysis and knowledge of operational data.

Beyond the technical aspects of evaluation, the Learning Days program was crafted with an understanding that our work is also a product of the environment in which we operate. Learning at IEG transcends skill acquisition to help foster a culture rooted in our values, promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and enhancing how we collaborate. The program included courses on constructive disagreement, inclusivity, and psychological safety, alongside core evaluation topics.

Beyond Learning Days

To be clear, learning does not stop at Learning Days. It is a dedicated period, but the IEG Academy supports continuous learning all year aimed at solidifying our foundational knowledge in evaluation methodology and other essential topics that ensure quality and rigor in our evaluative practice.

Outside of concentrated Learning Days, the IEG Academy also offers clinics and informal sessions throughout the year on timely subjects. The team curates courses and resources, called “learning bundles,” organized thematically and available online for ongoing learning. For both Learning Days and beyond, the IEG Academy draws on the collective knowledge and expertise within IEG and the World Bank Group.

Through alignment with strategic business objectives, a strong governance process, leveraging both internal and external expertise, curating resources, and a commitment to our values, IEG nurtures a culture of ongoing learning and adaptation. This culture is instrumental in how we support the WBG and the broader development community in learning from evaluation to improve development effectiveness.

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