Digital Principles Training Landscape Report Overview

In 2019, the Principles for Digital Development team, in collaboration with Clear Outcomes and TechChange, sought to produce a research report to understand the greatest needs and gaps around the use of the Digital Principles. In addition, recommendations on how our team can deliver and improve trainings to our stakeholders were gathered, with the intention of using these findings to inform the future development of a Digital Principles training series.  

The report is split into two phases – research and ideation. 

Phase 1 was led by Clear Outcomes, and involved key informant interviews with local implementers, thought leaders, endorsers and training specialists. Clear Outcomes also engaged the wider industry community through online surveys to obtain broader base of knowledge and quantifiable results.  

Phase 1 key findings include: 

There is widespread knowledge about the Digital Principles. They are generally a key feature in most organizations’ approach to digital development and digital training.  

Phase 2 Ideation Workshop in Medellin

– However, no known specific curricula exists that could be immediately repurposed for future trainings – pointing to the need for a specific Digital Principles curricula. 

– Any training must be practical and filled with real-world examples from a range of sectors. 

Blended training approach is advisable. 

– A third-party trainer approach is viewed as the best method. Trainers need to be diverse (both in experience and demographics) and well-vetted.  

– A certificate program garnered mixed perspectives. However, many expressed it would contribute to establishing industry standards and promoting professional development.  

Establishing a community beyond the training and solidifying a Digital Principles organizational strategy is key for ensuring adoption. This can include and online community of practice, peer mentorship programs, and Training of Trainer cohorts, etc. 

– The greatest barriers to adoption and use of the Digital Principles included time and financial constraints. The lack of a mandate or requirement to use the Principles from donors was also a barrier to adoption. 

– Tools such as the Digital Principles Maturity Matrix can help practitioners better demonstrate the true benefit and return on investment from using the Digital Principles. This may encourage greater financing of training.   

The team hosted the first training of trainers in London, in March 2020

Based on Phase 1 findings and input from Clear Outcomes, TechChange led the Phase 2 ideation stage and hosted four workshops in Medellin, Nairobi, Seattle, and Washington for diverse stakeholders. Findings from the workshop series helped develop recommendations for what Digital Principles training curriculum should include, models for delivery, and target audiences. 

Phase 2 key findings include: 

Recognized certificates are critical.  Affordable online credentials are important for incentivizing learners. However, it is key to build demand for the credential and course. 

– U.S.-based learners valued certificates less, those in Medellin and Nairobi valued them more. A lower value on certification should be addressed through superior learning experiences. 

Time and attention are the greatest constraints. U.S.-based donors and INGO project managers were least constrained by financial resources. However, time usage and competing priorities were consistently the greatest constraints across all target audiences. 

– Many organizations are split in online learning (even internal versus beneficiary) and training models. Blended learning can bridge the two to enable a transition to online learning without losing the value of existing models. 

Need and opportunity for more case studies. This type of content is crucial for demonstrating the relevance of the Digital Principles within a community. 

For more information on method, approach, and comprehensive findings, read our full report here

Kerry Bruce

CEO & Founder at Clear outcomes

After more than 25 years in international development, Kerry Bruce, DrPH founded Clear Outcomes.  Kerry is the CEO and Founder of the company and aims to provide nimble, responsive and high-quality services to clients. She is a recognized global health expert and has managed large implementation projects on several continents. A recognized leader in the ICT field, Kerry has been spearheading the use of big data in project design, monitoring and evaluation for the field, is a regular guest lecturer for TechChange, and has been a co-organizer of the MERL Tech conference. She is an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University’s International Health Department and teaches courses in mHealth and Implementation Science.

Claudine Lim

Manager at The Principles for Digital Development

Claudine first joined the Digital Impact Alliance in October 2017, shortly after receiving a dual masters in international relations and public relations from the Maxwell School and S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University. After working as a Program Coordinator and Researcher for DIAL’s Business Operations, she is currently working with the Principles of Digital Development.