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HomeNewsGrowing a global community for impact evaluation: J-PAL’s online courses

Growing a global community for impact evaluation: J-PAL’s online courses

Future directions: Tailoring hybrid learning for Francophone training partnerships

In 2022, J-PAL Europe developed a French-language version of the Evaluating Social Programs online course in partnership with the Morocco Employment Lab for a hybrid training with government partners in Morocco. Course development was spearheaded by J-PAL Europe’s Director of Training Ilf Bencheikh, together with J-PAL affiliated researchers Elise Huillery, William Parienté and Roland Rathelot. The course, Evaluer les Programmes Sociaux, was first used in a hybrid format with the Moroccan Court of Audit in early 2023. Around thirty magistrates followed the online course modules over a period of three weeks. After completing the online course, the magistrates attended three half-day, face-to-face sessions where they explored certain aspects in more depth, interacted with the teaching team, and got answers to their questions. This partnership demonstrates the potential of tailored hybrid courses, which combine the accessibility of asynchronous learning for foundational modules with in-person content customized to a particular sector, geographic area, or level of technical detail. 

While Evaluer les Programmes Sociaux is not yet available for open enrollment, the J-PAL Europe team continues to tailor and incorporate course material into training partnerships, with upcoming events planned in Cote d’Ivoire. We hope to incorporate these materials into J-PAL’s open online course offerings in the future.

Another new online course, based on Evaluating Social Programs and carefully designed for the needs of education policymakers and practitioners in France, is currently being developed by J-PAL Europe’s Innovation, Data and Experiments in Education team. The course will launch in the coming months and join J-PAL’s suite of course offerings, marking a new area of innovation in online courses customized to support impact evaluation and evidence use by region and sector—check back on our online courses page for updates once the course is available. 

Join a global community of practice

Spencer Obiero, a student at Bates College from Nairobi, Kenya who completed J-PAL’s Evaluating Social Programs online course earlier this year, said that the course reminded him of a classic team of superheroes: “I like how the different professors, like the Marvel superheroes The Avengers, have been brought together to teach this course. It’s amazing!” 

Online courses, like superhero movies, are all about bringing together a large cast with diverse backgrounds to tackle critical and complex problems. With Evaluating Social Programs online, J-PAL combines regional expertise with a worldwide network to support the work of policymakers, practitioners, and program implementers in understanding and measuring impact. However, the core of the J-PAL’s online courses is the dedicated learners who continually share their thoughts and experiences from different contexts, improving the courses—and each other’s learning— with their ideas.

Interested in enrolling in one of J-PAL’s online training courses? Evaluating Social Programs is open for enrollment now through December 1 on the MITx Online platform, and you can visit our online courses page for a full list of upcoming offerings. To dive even deeper into topics in economics and data analysis, consider enrolling in one of the semester-long courses in the Data, Economics, and Design of Policy MicroMasters program.