Learning Circles for Advanced Professional Development in Evaluation

  • Natalie Kishchuk
  • Benoît Gauthier
  • Simon Roy
  • Shelley Borys


Studies of Canadian evaluators have consistently shown dissatisfaction with opportunities for advanced training, suggesting a need to diversify the forms of professional development available to seasoned evaluators. This paper reports on a trial implementation of an alternative learning model: learning circles for advanced professional development in evaluation.  This model is grounded in approaches drawn from: self-directed learning; self-improvement movements; adult and popular education; quality improvement; and professional journal clubs.  Learning circles bring together experienced practitioners in structured collaborative learning cycles about topics of mutual interest.  We experimented with an evaluation learning circle over several cycles, and report on what we learned about purpose, process, and outcomes for professional development.   It is hoped that this model may be of interest to other evaluators, especially in the context of the competency maintenance requirements of the CE designation.