Tackling Wicked Problems and Systems: Novel Approaches to Transdisciplinary Learning and Communication

Session Number: ThoE2
Track: Theories of Evaluation
Session Type: TIG Multipaper
Session Chair: Ghislain Arbour [Senior lecturer - Center for Program Evaluation ]
Presenter 1: Stephen Powell [proMENTE social research]
Presenter 2: Timo Ensio Oksanen [Performance Audit Councellor - The State Audit Office of Finland]
Time: Nov 11, 2017 (09:15 AM - 10:00 AM)
Room: Delaware B

Abstract 1 Title: Evalian - a graphical language for evaluation
Presentation Abstract 1:

A simple written and visual dialect of English  called "Evalian" will be presented. Evalian is based on English but adds a small number of additional concepts which can be used to express ideas like contribution, causal influence, feedback, evidence, etc. The purpose of Evalian is not to suggest another new kind of template for planning, monitoring and evaluation of projects in practice. Rather, Evalian provides a unified, theory-based language for discussions not only of project and programme designs but also evaluation designs, more general evaluation approaches, and specific and general theories of change. In particular, Evalian has radical suggestions for modelling fuzzy, vague and non-numerical variables as well as complex, chaotic and emergent processes, providing a way to bring both closed/rigid and open/emergent evaluation paradigms under one roof. Evalian models of various evaluation paradigms will be presented, from Outcome Mapping & Harvesting to Logical Frameworks via some of Scriven's Logic of Valuing.

Abstract 2 Title: Learning within evaluation: new insight or a black box?
Presentation Abstract 2:

There is growing need to see evaluation through the lens of learning and development instead of accountability and control. Deepening this aspiration from catchwords to actual new concepts and practices calls for new kind of transdisciplinary co-operation between academic learning research and philosophy, different substance disciplines, systems thinking, evaluation research, and stakeholders. Wicked problems challenge our way to view learning from the viewpoint of its parts rather than as a whole. In addition, they enable us to see more clearly the challenges and gaps in our current disciplinary approach towards learning and evaluation.  Evaluation research should be reflective towards current learning and knowledge concepts and practices, and critically evaluate its traditional definitions of “learning” and “problem”. Disciplinary research and knowledge institutions and practices are fragmented and thus unable to reform learning and evaluation practices. Instead, they (rather) prevent and impair a deep reflection on our concepts and practices. 

Theme: My presentation doesn't specifically relate to the theme
Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Tackling Wicked Problems and Systems: Novel Approaches to Transdisciplinary Learning and Communication