In 2009, Learning Link Scotland worked with Evaluation Support Scotland to run an action learning project on the topic of evaluation. The project placed an emphasis on explaining the difference that adult learning makes, and how adult learning activity contributes to outcomes in the short, medium and longer term, and on a number of levels: outcomes for learners, for communities and to society.
The partners brought together voluntary adult learning providers to build a collective vision of the difference they make and how they contribute to local and national outcomes. The participants used a “logic modelling” approach to show the link between inputs, outputs and outcomes. The project, which resulted in the “Explaining the Difference” pack, was welcomed by Scottish Government and HMIE.
In the autumn of 2014 Learning Link Scotland, funded by Education Scotland, brought together a stakeholder group to review the pack and to refresh it. The motivation for the refresh was partly to move the emphasis of the resource from explaining to evidencing impact, and partly to generate through a pilot new evidence of the impact of adult learning generated by the voluntary sector in Scotland.
The stakeholder group set terms of reference that would ensure the new resource would be:
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