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Games Are Not Just For Children: 7 Activities To Use in Your Next M&E Workshop

Integrating fun and engaging activities into your Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) trainings can greatly enhance participants' learning experience and retention. 

Monitoring and Evaluation Games

Here are 7 activities designed to be both educational and engaging, focusing on various aspects of M&E.

  1. Logic Model Jigsaw Puzzle - The learning objective is for participants to identify the five key components of a logic model: inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impact, as well as the causal relationships and logical flow between its components. Divide participants into small groups and provide each group with a set of puzzle pieces containing different components of a logic model (e.g., inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, impact). Challenge them to assemble the logic model correctly and explain the relationships between the components.

  2. M&E Scavenger Hunt - The learning objective is for participants to enhance their understanding of key M&E concepts and principles by solving clues or riddles. Create a series of clues or riddles related to M&E concepts and principles. Divide participants into teams and have them search for the answers or items hidden around the training room or venue.

  3. M&E Bingo - The learning objective is to deepen participants' engagement with and understanding of key Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) concepts and principles. Create a bingo card filled with M&E terms, methodologies, and principles instead of numbers. Divide participants into small groups or let them play individually, and call out definitions, scenarios, or examples that correspond to the terms on their bingo cards. Participants will mark off the terms on their cards that match the descriptions given. The first to complete a row or pattern and shout "Bingo!" will need to explain the terms in their winning line, linking them to real-world M&E applications or experiences to win a prize. This encourages not just recognition of the terms but also comprehension and the ability to articulate their significance in the field of M&E.

  4. M&E Storytelling - The learning objective is for participants to develop their storytelling skills, focusing on structuring narratives that effectively communicate M&E challenges, successes, or lessons learned. Ask participants to share real-life experiences or case studies related to M&E challenges, successes, or lessons learned. Encourage them to use storytelling techniques to engage the audience.

  5. M&E Escape Room - The learning objective is to enhance participants' application and understanding of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) concepts through an engaging, hands-on experience. Set within the context of an escape room, participants are introduced to a scenario that requires them to use M&E principles and techniques to solve puzzles, navigate challenges, and ultimately "escape" by completing a program evaluation. The room is designed with various stages reflecting the M&E process, such as planning, data collection, analysis, and reporting. Each puzzle or challenge solved unlocks the next step, mirroring the progressive nature of effective program evaluation. Participants are divided into teams and given a set timeframe to escape, promoting not only the application of M&E knowledge but also teamwork, communication, and critical thinking under pressure. Tools and clues provided throughout the escape room include survey data, logical frameworks, stakeholder interviews, and policy documents, requiring participants to employ real-world M&E skills to progress. The experience culminates in the successful completion of the evaluation report, allowing the team to escape. This innovative approach not only solidifies a practical understanding of M&E concepts but also emphasizes the importance of collaboration and creative problem-solving in the field.

  6. Evaluation Design Gallery Walk - The learning objective is for participants tobe able to determine appropriate evaluation designs for hypothetical or real-world projects, considering factors like research questions, context, and resource availability. Set up stations around the room, each representing a different evaluation design (e.g., experimental, quasi-experimental, non-experimental). Participants rotate through the stations, learning about the designs and discussing their strengths and limitations.

  7. Data Dive Challenge - The learning objective is to enhance skills in data analysis and interpretation,. and to practice presenting data findings in an engaging manner. Provide small groups with a dataset (real or fictional) and a set of questions to answer using the data. Groups must analyze the data and present their findings to the rest of the participants.

Scott G. Chaplowe, lead author of the well-reviewed book, 'Monitoring and Evaluation Training: A Systematic Approach' and I will be hosting a webinar in a few days. We will discuss a range of engaging active learning activities from his book. These are sure to make M&E training sessions more enjoyable and effective.

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