Learn Better. Learn Together.

A screen capture of participants on Zoom.

Six months after the launch of SBC Learning Central, Breakthrough ACTION’s online learning platform focused on social and behavior change (SBC), we asked ourselves how we might make our learners’ experience more effective and rewarding. Informed by evidence about how sharing experiences with others enhances adult learning, Breakthrough ACTION decided to test the effectiveness of a cohort-based learning approach.

We invited young SBC professionals through LinkedIn and various youth sexual and reproductive health-related communities of practice to join our first cohort-based sessions of 2024 on SBC Learning Central’s most popular course, Social and Behavior Change 101: An Introduction. Our calls were met with overwhelming interest. Over 650 young SBC professionals applied to join the 36-person cohort. Collectively, these applicants represented organizations from Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

On February 8 and 15, 2024, this cohort of learners gathered over Zoom to learn from the course authors and fellow learners about the science and art of SBC with a special focus on how best to plan for monitoring and evaluation of SBC programs from the beginning of program planning and design. All (100%) participants reported they strongly agreed or agreed that the blended learning sessions were a useful supplement to the online course. One participant explained, “Learning the difference between impact and outcome and how to relate it to measuring success and milestones of my project was the most interesting and useful.”

Most recently, Breakthrough ACTION hosted the Know, Care, Do: A Theory of Change for Engaging Men and Boys in Family Planning cohort-based sessions on March 19 and 26, 2024. More than 600 people applied to participate; of these, 70 people from 24 USAID countries of implementation with population and reproductive health funding received an invitation to participate. Fifty-eight actively participated in the sessions, with more than 35 completing the post-survey. Like the first cohort, this cohort’s participants also found the sessions extremely valuable. A participant shared, “I loved all the topics as they were very relatable and able to bring it down to our experience as a project, and the examples were insightful.” All survey respondents shared how they plan to use the information gained.

A screen capture of Know, Care, Do session participants on Zoom.

Participants of the first cohort-based session on Know, Care, Do: Know, Care, Do: A Theory of Change for Engaging Men and Boys in Family Planning course. Photo by: Breakthrough ACTION

A recurring theme in participants’ responses was the value of SBC Learning Central courses for step-down training. One said, “The knowledge which I gained during the course will be used in a capacity building program with field staff and subsequently with engaging boys and men.”

We invite you to broaden and deepen your SBC knowledge and skills by taking a course on SBC Learning Central. And if you want to learn better, invite your team to take a course with you. Find ways to incorporate SBC Learning Central courses and contents from the toolkits into your SBC programs. You can also use the training materials during in-person training, as homework assignments, or as a follow-up or knowledge reinforcement after training. The possibilities are endless. How will you leverage the power of SBC Learning Central to learn better?

Written by: Lisa Mwaikambo, Knowledge Management Technical Lead, Breakthrough ACTION, and Meei Child, Communications Officer, Breakthrough ACTION