Petra Mikkolainen, Board Member and Secretary of the Finnish Evaluation Society (SAYFES)
Have you been looking for online evaluation courses but don’t know where to start? This blog summarises my findings on what is available on the Internet in terms of evaluation e-learning. I provide links to the main degree courses as well as other shorter packages on evaluation fundamentals. I will also list a few training courses of further specialisation. In the end, I will ask you to post links to any other courses you might be aware of. The list will be hugely useful for others who wish to learn more about the field. Please note that I’m only including courses that are thought 100% online. Thank you in advance!
Evaluation degree courses
Let’s start with the most extensive packages. I have to say that I was surprised to find out that there are only two universities that offer comprehensive evaluation courses online; University of Melbourne and Clairmont University.
- The University of Melbourne offers two options: Master of Evaluation or a Graduate Certificate in Evaluation. The Master’s course is completed in one year full-time or two years part-time with a cost of approximately EUR 16,000 (AUD 25,728), and the Graduate Certificate in one year with a cost of EUR 8,000 (AUD 12,864).
- Clairemont University advertises Advanced Study Certificate in Evaluation with a duration of two semesters. The cost is USD 15,520 for the eight units that form the programme.
- In addition, I would add to this group the Monitoring and Evaluation for Practitioners course offered by the Project Management Institute, which is a UK-based global non-profit professional organisation for project management. Student obtains 35 Professional Development Units (not sure what they are) for the cost of GBP 1,275 (approximately EUR 1,440) + tax 20% for the advanced level. There is also a basic-level package worth GBP 750 (approximately EUR 850) + 20% tax.
All of the above-mentioned courses are applicable to any sector.
Paid short courses
When I initially started searching for e-learning options, my assumption was that I would find plenty of free courses online. Obviously, I was quite wrong. Many short courses charge a fee. I also found out that nearly all them are specific to the evaluation of development cooperation or humanitarian action. Many of them were also created for non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Two platforms offer self-paced open access courses:
- TRAASS International, a non-profit organisation working for knowledge empowerment for humanitarian action, provides a course named Cutting Edge Monitoring and Evaluation, but also other more specific topics such as Effective and Creative Evaluation Report Writing, and How to Be a Successful Evaluation Consultant. Cost is between USD 375 and USD 825 per course.
- ELD Training (for which the website does not tell whether it is a company or a non-profit organisation) offers a course called Design, Monitor & Evaluate Development Projects That Get Results & Attract Donor Support. The cost of the training is USD 525.
Four platforms offer moderated courses that are opened only periodically:
- Project Management for Development Organizations (PM4DEV), a company that provides consulting services and e-learning packages on project management, monitoring, evaluation and other topics. One of the courses is Project Design, Monitoring and Evaluation with the cost of USD 175.
- Kimmage Development Studies Centre, Maynooth University Department of International Development, Maynooth University, Ireland, has a course on Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation; however, the cost of the training is not clearly indicated.
- Global Human Rights Education and Training Centre, an international non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands, offers a course titled Monitoring and Evaluation in the NGO sector. The cost of early bird subscription is EUR 555.
- TechChange is (presumably) a company that provides online professional development in technology and social change. They have an interesting collection of short courses developed from the technological point of view, for example, the Technology for Monitoring and Evaluation Diploma for the cost of USD 495. The course is moderated and offered at regular intervals. Unlike all the other links under the category “paid short courses”, TechChange is not specific to development or humanitarian action.
Free short courses
I could also find some platforms that are both open access and free to the students. There is a lot of variety here. Some include only a few hour sessions, others are more comprehensive courses. I let you explore which offer responds best to your needs. Here is the list divided into development-related courses and those which don’t apply to any sector in particular:
- The American Evaluation Association (AEA) has a website that includes a series of nearly 100 learning sessions on different topics related to evaluation. The website indicates that “In-depth eStudy courses offer a deep dive into top-of-mind evaluation themes and topics. Open to both members and nonmembers alike, eStudies provide a diverse learning experience where collaboration is encouraged”. Sessions are self-paced.
- The University of Stanford has recently launched a free and self-paced course on Essentials of Programme Strategy and Evaluation.
- EdX, the non-profit open source learning platform, includes a course named Results-Based Project Management: Monitoring and Evaluation developed by the University of the Witwatersbrand, Johannesburg. The course is provided for free, but if the student wishes to obtain a certificate, the cost is USD 49. The course is self-paced and open access.
- I was expecting Coursera, the well-known online learning platform, to include several evaluation courses. To my surprise, I could not find any that would deal with the type of evaluation I discuss in the context of this blog. However, one course stood out as something practical for any evaluator; Survey Data Collection and Analytics developed by the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland. Again, the course is free but if the student wishes to obtain a certificate of completion, is it available for a fee of USD 49. Most of the courses are moderated and opened at regular intervals.
- This list would be nothing without mentioning Stephanie Evergreen’s Data Academy. This is the number one place to go to if you want to learn about presenting data effectively – a skill that all evaluators need. Stephanie publishes plenty of materials online for free. However, to obtain full access to all the resources, she charges an annual subscription-based fee of USD 950.
Broadly development related:
- The MEASURE Evaluation is a cooperative agreement awarded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and five partner organizations: ICF International, John Snow Inc., Management Sciences for Health, Palladium, and Tulane University. The platform offers a series of free courses from fundamentals of M&E to more specialised topics such as Economic Evaluation and GIS Techniques for M&E of HIV/AIDS and Related Programs. Students obtain a course certificate. Sessions are self-paced and open access.
- EvalPartners, which is a partnership to foster knowledge sharing and networking among M&E practitioners worldwide, opens regularly an e-learning programme on development evaluation. The contents have been developed through a partnership between International Organisation for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) and UNICEF. After an introductory class, the student can choose which parts of the package s/he wants to include in the curriculum. The courses are self-paced but they open only at the regular intervals.
- Global Health eLearning (GHeL) Center is a platform launched by USAID’s Bureau of Global Health and developed to provide health-related information to its mission-based health staff. Several courses deal with evaluation, such as a basic Monitoring and Evaluation Course; Impact Evaluation of Health Communication Programs; and Economic Evaluation Basics. The courses are self-paced, open access, and free.
- World Bank Open Learning Campus is another popular platform for learning on all types of topic for free. Search for example in the following categories: Gender Monitoring and Evaluation, Monitoring and Evaluation for Evidence-Based Policy, and Public Sector Strategic Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to access free courses. Currently, available courses include Monitoring and Evaluation of Climate Mitigation Initiatives (self-paced). Search also for videos and recorded webinars.
- UN Women provides a short course titled How to Manage a Gender-responsive Evaluation. It is self-paced and free. Tip: the website includes plenty of interesting short courses on gender equality!
- If you’re interested in evaluation in the private sector, you should check out the Evaluating Impact Investing knowledge hub curated by E.T. Jackson and Associates Ltd, an international management consulting firm. The platform includes a free and open access course titled Evaluating Impact Investing in Africa.
Now I would like to hear from you
- Have you taken any of these courses? How was it?
- Do you know of any other e-learning courses or platforms on evaluation? Please let me know and I’ll add it to the list.
Finally, sign up to my email list if you would like to receive a notification when I’ve updated the list. I will spread the word on this blog in social media to obtain as many links as possible. Signing up will make your life easier as I will compile the information to make it readily available for everybody. Isn’t that cool?
Looking forward to your feedback!
With warm regards, Petra
Petra Mikkolainen is an independent development evaluator with a background in the implementation and management of development cooperation. Her educational background is in environmental sciences. Topics that are close to her heart are environmental and social sustainability as well as exploring how the private sector can contribute to sustainable development in the Global South. Based in Finland, she also acts as a board member and secretary of the Finnish Evaluation Society (SAYFES).