Value creation

improving the ability to make a difference


Value cycles

Value flows

Learning loops


Reframing loops

Value-creation stories


Effect data

Contribution data

What it is

Value creation is a perspective on social learning that reflects the aspiration to make a difference. Social learning creates value to the extent that it is recognized as improving the ability to make that difference.

The perspective of value creation does not take learning to be the “transmission of stuff”; it does not take social learning to be the “sharing of knowledge.” Rather, it assumes that learners are actively engaged in a drive to make a difference that matters to them. This drive to make a difference will make them evaluate learning situations in terms of their changing ability to make that difference. 

How it contributes to social learning capability

In theorizing or cultivating social learning capability, the perspective of value creation places the emphasis on involving the agency of each participant seeking to make a difference. Learning has to be meaningful to each participant in terms of making that difference. It is also necessary to evaluate learning, and do so in ways that involves participants and nurtures meaningfulness by providing useful information. This approach is what the perspective of value creation supports. Without such an evaluative process, it is not possible to create learning flows and loops that can further social learning capability. However, focusing on evaluation can detract from social learning capability when accounting for value creation is perceived as a hoop participants need to jump through for political or funding reasons.

More on value creation

About the value-creation framework

This book provides the most up-to-date description of the value-creation framework. It is both very detailed conceptually and full of practical tips.

Workshops about monitoring and evaluations

We conduct regular workshops for people who want to use our value-creation framework to articulate and capture the value created by social learning. These workshops are for anyone who acts as a “value detectives,” whether  you are a community members, an organizational leader, or a professional evaluator.

Mixed methods evaluation

In 2017, we wrote a paper for the Journal of Mixed Methods Research arguing that the value-creation framework provides an approach to evaluation that can integrate systematically quantitative and qualitative data streams.