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

written by Anna Blasco
June 5, 2013

This blog post is the third in a series from the Alliance on designing a Learning Collaborative for your community. (You can read the first post in the series here, where you'll find an explanation of how a Learning Collaborative works and learn more about the Alliance's Learning Collaboratives in Virginia.)

Change is hard, so when we make changes we want to make sure they represent an improvement. The goal of Learning Collaboratives is to improve how organizations provide homelessness assistance, resulting in fewer people experiencing homelessness in your community. Key, therefore, to conducting a Learning Collaborative is regularly measuring our progress towards this goal.

For our Learning Collaborative we are requiring each organization to document and report monthly to the other members of their Learning Collaborative seven metrics. In addition, each team met to discuss two additional metrics that they would like to track. For the duration of the Learning Collaborative, we will review these metrics every month and discuss each organization’s progress.

When thinking about what metrics you would like to measure in your Learning Collaborative, keep the following in mind:

  1. Simple. Because these metrics will be reported on monthly they must be easy for participants to access.
  2. Useful. The metrics should respond monthly to the changes being implemented to truly be a useful tool in measuring progress.
  3. Public. Sharing progress with the other organizations in the collaborative will help keep each organization accountable and motivated.

An example of the metrics we are asking our participants is below, or you can download this chart here.

Measure Baseline (Average from previous 3 months before the Learning Collaborative started) May June July August September October
Number of families placed this month in permanent housing              
Average length of time from entry into shelter to placement in permanent housing (in days) per month for families              
Total landlord partners (landlords familiar with your organization and interested in renting units to your clients)              
For families closed this month, the average amount of financial assistance for each family placed in permanent housing              
For families closed this month, the average length of time financial assistance was provided for each housed family              
[Please insert your Internal Measure]              
[Please insert your Internal Measure]              


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