Learning networks operate under a variety of names: communities of practice; e-learning networks; web-discussion fora, learning communities, thematic groups… Whatever name they go by, they tend to be groups of practitioners who share a common interest in a specific area of competence and are willing to share their experience. Learning networks are currently one of the most popular capacity building methods. Rumizen articulates the opinion of many when she says: ‘Over the past few years communities of practice have come to be seen as the killer application for knowledge management. And rightfully so.’ (2002:85).
But while investment is increasing, most learning networks are yet not in a position to provide answers to questions of impact.
This short paper provides some pragmatic ideas about what we need to assess and how this can be done in relatively simple and cost-effective ways. It recommends approaches to monitoring and evaluating learning networks