Field Notes: How to Plan a Learning Collaborative – Step Five

written by Anna Blasco
September 18, 2013

This blog post is the sixth in a series from the Alliance on designing a Rapid Re-Housing Learning Collaborative in your community. You can read the first post in the series here, where you'll find an explanation of how a Learning Collaborative works.


Ready, set, go! When it comes to the Learning Collaborative, the work starts as soon as participants are accepted.

This is the “pre-work phase” and begins one to two months before your first meeting. During this phase, participants will prepare by reading or watching educational materials, pulling together data, establishing teams, and setting out goals. Pre-work is an important step that helps ensure everyone is prepared and on the same page before the first in-person meeting.

Our pre-work packet can be found here. Some things you may want to ask your participants to do as part of the pre-work phase includes:

  • Collect baseline data that will allow them to have an understanding of their starting point as well as a measure of their progress going forward.
  • Read or watch educational materials that will give them a basic understanding of the issue. We had our participants watch five short training modules on rapid re-housing.
  • Take a survey or self-assessment to determine what practices and philosophies the organizations currently identify with. Some questions to ask may include: 
  • Are there any requirements placed on clients to receive assistance?
  • What are the program's eligibility requirements?
  • Does your program include home-based case management?
  • Establish a team from their organization, identify a team leader, and sign commitment forms outlining their responsibilities as part of the Learning Collaborative.
  • Assemble relevant policies, procedures or job descriptions that may need to be revised or reworked at the first meeting to improve their rapid re-housing programs.

Once the participants have had time to review the materials schedule one or more conference calls to review them and answer any questions. I suggest holding three calls: one with all participants to answer questions generally, a second with just the team leaders to discuss their role, and a third with the person who will gather data for monthly metrics reports to describe in detail what data they will need to collect.

You can find a sample pre-work packet for download here.

View the Series: How to Plan a Learning Collaborative

Step Zero: Staffing and Cost

Step One: Do Your Research

Step Two: Create an Application

Step Three: Metrics and Measuring Improvement

Step Four: Recruit Participants

Lessons from the Everyone Housed Academy

Step Five: Assign Pre-Work

Interview with Learning Collaborative Participants

Step Six: Facilitator Preparation for First Meeting

Step Seven: Facilitating the First Meeting – Part 1

Step Eight: Facilitating the First Meeting – Part 2