What we do (alt. version)

Development Learning Lab provides research-based knowledge and facilitates learning at all stages of the project cycle.

Activities and resources

Knowledge Reviews

DLL identifies knowledge needs together with our partners. We ask questions about the nature and causes of development challenges, and effectiveness of past interventions. Sometimes the answers can be found in the research literature. DLL can provide knowledge reviews, assess reliability of research findings, and extract lessons for practical use. 


To generate credible evidence, research and development programmes should be planned simultaneously. That’s why DLL follows development programmes from conception to completion. 

Throughout all stages of a programme, we conduct rigorous research in partnership with the implementing organisation, answering questions such as: 

  • How effective is the programme?
  • What are the impacts?
  • What explains successes and failures?
  • How can the programme be improved?
  • What are effective ways of scaling up?

We may also assess programme acceptability, feasibility, fidelity and adoption. 

We establish rapid feedback loops to enable learning along the way. 

Learning Arenas

DLL invites partners who work on similar development challenges to participate in thematic learning arenas to share successes and failures from practical experience and research-based knowledge.

How we contribute throughout the project cycle

Understanding the problem

We work with partners to understand the nature of development challenges and their underlying causes.

Design and planning

We assist in identifying knowledge gaps and in designing projects to learn more about what works and why.

We can also participate in developing outcome indicators, results frameworks, and data collection strategies.


We contribute to monitoring and evaluation, facilitating rapid feedback loops to implementers. We assess whether the project’s theory of change needs to be refined.

Measuring results

We measure outcomes and impacts using rigorous research and analyse successes and failures.


We facilitate systematic learning based on research-based knowledge. We work jointly with practitioners to interpret findings and discuss implications.