About This Module

imagePrep: 3 hr | Module: 9 hrimageTeam: 3-5

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) is the process of generating ongoing evidence, making sense of it, and using that information to inform decisions. The MEL module supports a conservation team in developing a simple MEL plan, linked to their theory of change, that helps them focus their efforts on adaptive management around one intermediate result (IR) and its outputs and outcomes. 

Teams who complete the MEL module will be better positioned to begin testing their theory of change and reporting on outputs, IRs, and outcomes in the Hub. This contributes to a robust MEL practice, which helps teams confidently stand behind their outcomes for the 2030 Goals.

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    • A simple MEL plan to support adaptive management.
    • Clarity for reporting progress in the Hub.
    • Are we implementing effectively? Are activities/outputs going as planned?
    • Are our assumptions holding up? Is the assumption about the link between activities/outputs and intermediate results supported?
    • Is our theory of change playing out? Are activities/outputs leading to intermediate results? Are intermediate results leading to outcomes? 
  • The primary participants are the core planning team. The ideal group size is 3-5 people to incorporate multiple perspectives while also enabling all participants to fully engage. A subject matter expert, such as a member of the Measures Advisory Group (MAG) for a relevant metric, can often be a helpful addition to the third workshop when the team is defining indicators for their outcome. Teams will also need a facilitator—ideally, someone from outside the planning team—who has completed training on this module.

  • This module includes three workshop sessions of 3 hours each, plus one kick-off call (10 hours total). The strategy team lead and module facilitator should also expect to commit 1-3 hours of prep and wrap-up time.

  • Before beginning this module, the team should have completed a theory of change that articulates activities, outputs, intermediate results, outcomes, and key assumptions, and have socialized that theory of change with key internal or external interested parties. The team should also have initial evidence of success in specific contexts and a promising pathway to scale.

    • Session 1: Develop Learning Agenda Questions. Determine which part of the theory of change to test and generate learning agenda questions focused on the selected intermediate result (IR) and outputs.

    • Session 2: Draft the Plan. Complete the MEL plan for the selected IR and outputs.

    • Session 3: Connect to the 2030 Goals. Connect the plan to the 2030 Goals and Metrics by defining success and indicators for the selected outcome(s). 


“The Canada program’s NCS team had a very positive experience working with the CCO in the MEL module. The team responded directly to our request for support and led us through a process that illuminated key components of our NCS strategy that had not yet been explored. The module gave our team the necessary dedicated time and facilitation to advance our strategy in a meaningful way."

— Tyson Atleo,
NCS Director,

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Your feedback is vital to helping us make the Conservation by Design modules more user-friendly and impactful. Please email conservationbydesign@tnc.org to share how we can improve our modules and our program. 

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