1 October 2020

Join us via Zoom 16:00

UK Evaluation Journal Club

“Implementer learning in developmental evaluation: A cultural historical activity theory and expansive learning analysis”

We are pleased to announce that Cheryl K. Baldwin will be joining the Journal Club from the United States to discuss her paper Implementer learning in developmental evaluation: A cultural historical activity theory and expansive learning analysis at our journal club on 1st October 2020 (4-5pm UK time).  Cheryl K. Baldwin is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, USA.

This journal club meeting provides an opportunity to discuss with Cheryl:

•  an approach to examine implementer learning and agency in the early stages of an innovative inter-agency partnership in the United States involving a charter and a district school.

•  how concepts and analytic strategies of cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) and expansive learning theory can be used to describe the partnership context as a shared activity system and to explore learning when undertaking a developmental evaluation.

•  how to intervene as a developmental evaluator and support knowledge co-construction

•  the application of papers findings and what might constitute relatively straightforward changes that you can incorporate in current and future evaluation studies.

Taking part in a Journal Club is very similar to taking part in a Book Club but can be organised in different ways suited to the material being discussed. Just like a book club you are asked to read a journal article in advance so you can discuss it with others. The person who choose the article, or in this case the author, usually provides an overview of the methodological approach or findings described in the paper, before opening up the discussion to the group. Journal clubs can involve group members critically reviewing an article using critical appraisal tools particularly when the aim is develop skills in evidence synthesis. Or they can provide an opportunity for group members to discuss the applicability and adaptability of a proposed methodology to their area of research and evaluation.


Cultural historical activity and expansive learning theories were employed in a retrospective case study to investigate implementer learning and how knowledge is co-created in the early stage of an inter-agency partnership supported with developmental evaluation. Data collection methods were semi-structured qualitative interviews, evaluator field notes of implementer discursive interactions, evaluator log, and ethnographic program observations. Activity system analyses revealed a primary contraction between organizational independence and interdependence, which inhibited program implementation. Learning as negotiated work with conflicts manifesting from this contradiction evolved implementer perspectives and created a new model of interdependent implementer leadership practice. The mediating role of the developmental evaluator involved both reality testing and serving as a neutral mediating presence that supported implementers importing their resources for problem-solving as expansive learning.

Baldwin, C. K. (2020). Implementer learning in developmental evaluation: A cultural historical activity theory and expansive learning analysis. Evaluation, 26(1), 27–48. https://doi.org/10.1177/1356389019895033

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