Lesson Learning

General Description

An important process issue for justice and security sector reform is the collection of evidence of good (and bad) practices as demonstrated in one context, and then extracting the key lessons, and presenting them such that they can positively influence other programmes. At the centre of such processes is the methods used to identify the lessons and collect the relevant evidence regarding them. A robust process for Lesson Identification involves the deployment of a team of personnel with relevant expertise to assess a programme or mission with the aim of finding what we would do differently next time and what we would do the same.

The purpose is to directly observe the evidence that demonstrates specific lessons, and capture any new learning in sufficient detail such that it can be used to inform future programming.

These types of exercises are usually attempting to identify “good practices”. They are basically concrete experiences that worked very well in a particular context. Usually good practices are innovative, they make a difference, they have a sustainable effect and they serve as a model for replicating and adapting initiatives elsewhere.

Lesson identification represents a critical phase of a Lesson Learning System, in that it ensures the quality, clarity and relevance of the examples that are identified. It ensures that the Lessons Learning System is provided with usable, relevant and actionable good (and bad) practices, which can then be disseminated to key stakeholders, and successfully influence programmatic approaches to improve the overall effectiveness of the organisations reform activities.