This article draws on literature from both monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and organisational learning to explore synergies between these two fields in support of organisational performance. Two insights from the organisational learning literature are that organisations learn through ‘double-loop’ learning: reflecting on experience and using this to question critically underlying assumptions; and that power relations within an organisation will influence what and whose learning is valued and shared. This article identifies four incentives that can help link M&E with organisational learning: the incentive to learn why; the incentive to learn from below; the incentive to learn collaboratively; and the incentive to take risks. Two key elements are required to support these incentives: (1) establishing and promoting an ‘evaluative culture’ within an organisation; and (2) having accountability relationships where value is placed on learning ‘why’, as well as on learning from mistakes, which requires trust.
Using participatory approaches in impact evaluation means involving stakeholders, particularly the participants in a programme or those affected by a given policy, in specific aspects of the evaluation process. The term covers a wide range of different types of participation and stakeholders can be involved in any stage of the impact evaluation process, including: its design, data collection, analysis, reporting and managing the study.