The applicability of knowledge to real-world situations is crucial to learning and growth. In line with this statement, the Mastercard Foundation Young Impact Associates (YIAs) on learning exchange program with Cloneshouse conducted a rapid evaluation of the organization’s online courses from 2020 to 2022. The Online Basic Monitoring and Evaluation (OBME) & Online Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation (ORBME) courses are part of Cloneshouse’s strategy to enhance the practice of M&E in Africa. To effectively conduct the rapid evaluation, the YIA’s used a Utilized Focus Approach that focuses on the primary users of the evaluation’s findings and learnings, which in this case is the Cloneshouse team. A desk review of the online course materials and curriculum was carried out, and an online survey was administered to those who participated in the training from 2020 to 2022 to glean insights about the program.

Following its successful completion, here are four lessons from the evaluation of the online training:

  1. Communication is key: Although this statement is commonplace, it does not water down the truth that it holds. As part of the evaluation findings, respondents mentioned the need for timely feedback to complaints and questions on the online course, emphasising the need for communication as responses that take time affect learners’ experience on the online course.
  1. Physical training is still in vogue: In a post-covid world, it is now common wisdom to have training online because of its flexibility and wide reach. But we cannot negate the place of physical training as our findings collaborate some of the respondents need for physical training. Incorporating in-person classes would provide the enabling platform for interaction among participants and also improve feedback time from course instructors.
  1. Peer-to-peer learning improves the learning experience: Mutual learning and training strategy that involves participants of the same level engaging in collaborative learning is very important. OECD on the potential for online learning for adults: Early lessons from COVID-19, suggest that online learners must have some self-motivation, which can reduce as training progresses. From the outcome evaluation, respondents proposed as part of the component of the online course that they would like to be paired for learning tasks such as assignments, as this would encourage brainstorming, collaboration, and motivation to stay till the end.
  1. Social media marketing is key: The importance of social media marketing in increasing the reach of a product, especially an online course, cannot be overemphasized. The evaluation findings showed that while there has been a relative increase in the number of course participants spanning four African countries, the uptake of the online courses is still low. For Cloneshouse to achieve its mandate of enhancing the practice of M&E in Africa, the organization needs to utilize social media marketing strategies to increase its reach and, eventually, the number of people who sign up for courses.

Conducting the rapid evaluation was a learning curve for the YIAs as it allowed them to put their theoretical knowledge to practice, thereby equipping them to thrive as Young Emerging Evaluators.

Written By Seember Ishuh, Godwin Kwaghngee, Khadija Yahaya Muhammad, Enitan Sophie Oluwa, Asheadzi Yusuf-Wasuku and Ochanya Okoh.


The authors are members of the MCF Young Impact Associates’ Programme, currently participating in a 6-month exchange program with Cloneshouse. As part of their program, these authors have conducted a rapid evaluation on the online courses offered by Cloneshouse.

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