For years, organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations have used monitoring and evaluation systems to figure out how well projects and programs are doing. Monitoring is a continuous assessment of projects or programs. One goal of monitoring is to give everyone with a stake in the project early information about its progress. Catching any problems as soon as possible is important, so they can be corrected. Monitoring doesn’t look at the outcomes and impact. That’s where evaluation comes in. Evaluation is about how effective and relevant the activities were given the project/program’s goals. Evaluation is also important because it can give managers and teams recommendations they can take to similar projects/programs.
Both parts together are about good planning, measuring performance, and improving for the future. A good M&E is essential for collecting accurate data about the effectiveness and impact of projects and programs. For organizations that deal with big issues like human rights, this data is vital for agencies to make a positive difference in the world. Here are five monitoring and evaluation distance learning courses:
This self-paced 8-week long class teaches the basics of results-based project management. It’s designed for managers in Africa and the rest of the world who use results-based approaches for their programs and projects. Developed with CLEAR Anglophone Africa, the class uses that organization’s experience with promoting evidence-based systems. The syllabus includes an introduction to the results chain, results statements, performance indicators, monitoring systems, and the role of evaluations. This class can be completed in the 8-week time frame with 3-4 hours of work per week. A paid certificate is available.
Risk management is a key skill in any organization. In this course, you’ll learn about identifying, measuring, and controlling the losses that come with negative events. You’ll also learn how to analyze, choose, and evaluate the safeguards that help mitigate risk. There are lots of processes for collecting information, figuring out risks, and reporting what you find to the right people. This is all monitoring and evaluation in action within the risk management realm. By the end of the course, you will be able to describe the risk management process, how to operate and maintain monitoring systems, how to interpret what you find from monitoring results, and more. Business continuity and disaster recovery are discussed in this course, as well. This English-language course is 7 weeks long. A paid certificate is available.
This 4-week course (taught in English) tackles how to evaluate new medical technologies. Being able to select the right technology for your health/medical organization is essential. They can be very expensive and come with certain risks. This course’s goal is to teach you about the concepts, data, and methodology that goes into choosing a medical technology. After the course, you’ll understand the reimbursement systems, the role of government and regulatory agencies, how to use healthcare data to evaluate technology, and more. Given the course’s name, it’s more about the evaluation process than monitoring. You need to be able to monitor the selection process and report back to the appropriate people.
This 6-week course reviews the process of training and continuing education for volunteer community health workers. These workers are very important for a community’s ability to meet basic health needs. The course goes through the steps of planning training and continuing education activities. It uses real-life examples from village health worker programs, peer educator programs, and more. One section of this course focuses on monitoring implementation while another covers program evaluation and follow-up. In training and learning programs of all kinds, a monitoring and evaluation system is critical for improvement in the future.
This course teaches you about all the project management tools, processes, and strategies you’ll need to complete a project from beginning to end. The sections are divided by the life cycle phases, so you begin with initiation and then project-planning. Monitoring techniques will carry you through the project in its execution phase. The last phase, the closing phase, will include evaluation. With the information you’ve learned, you’ll be well-equipped to manage projects in a wide variety of contexts. This 10-week course is intermediate, so it’s recommended for students with a Bachelor’s degree or at least 5 years of work experience in a project-related business. Commitment is around 8-10 hours per week.