Harnessing Frontier Digital Technologies for Evaluation

Harnessing Frontier Digital Technologies for Evaluation, February 2022

Instructors: Valentine J. Gandhi

Around the world, donors and implementers are trying to figure out how best to use emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, big data, and the internet of things (IoT) to support development efforts. While we have a responsibility to ensure these technologies are harnessed to their full potential, we must also be aware of the limitations of their use. For example, blockchain has been proposed as a validity solution for almost anything. However, blockchain is not a failsafe way to create data integrity.

This course is designed for those who are working on digital tools for development, and those who are tasked with implementing projects that include big data, AI, blockchain, machine learning, drones, and other technology solutions for development. The course will focus less on the technologies themselves than on evaluation tools, methods, and frameworks that can help participants design decision support tools for program practice. This course will help evaluators and development practitioners use evaluation methods such as complexity-aware monitoring, sense making, developmental evaluation, data quality frameworks, and ethics beyond bias approaches to implementing frontier technologies in the field.

This course is ideal for evaluators, program managers, and technology experts working in the field of technology for good or those who want to build their capacity and knowledge in this area. Some background in evaluation is useful and desirable.

The course is delivered in three virtual, instructor-led modules. Read about each of the modules below. Classes will take place online via Adobe Connect or Zoom. Certificates of completion will be provided at the end of the course to all participants who have successfully completed the modules.

Module 1: An overview of frontier technology
February 16, 7 a.m.–10 a.m. EDT

The course will begin with an overview of frontier technologies associated with the fourth revolution such as blockchain, AI, drones, big data, and the IoT, among others. Participants will gain insight into these technologies and participate in a short quiz as well as a Q&A session with the course instructor.

Module 2: Choosing the right technology for your evaluation
February 22, 7 a.m.–10 a.m. EDT

In module 2, participants will focus on existing evaluation methods and how they can be used to develop decision support tools to choose the right technologies from a problem-solving perspective, considering social and structural barriers in a community. The evaluation methods discussed in this module will be developmental evaluation, outcome mapping, and Blue Planet evaluation. The participants will complete a short quiz after the module and attend a Q&A session with the course instructor.

Module 3: Developing a Frontier Technology Road Map for your project
February 24, 7 a.m.–10 a.m. EDT

In the final module, participants will develop a road map for harnessing frontier technologies in development projects. The participants will take real-world examples from their own projects that call for application of frontier technologies and apply the lessons learned from previous modules to develop an evaluation and learning road map that helps them implement these technologies. The participants will work on a short assignment that presents a problem that requires application of frontier technologies and use these methods to develop agile learning tools to support project implementation.

We hope to see you online soon! Please contact us with any questions at learningcenter@encompassworld.com.