Digital Training


EPoD Professor Dan Levy
Senior Lecturer
Dan Levy

The training component of the BCURE-Harvard program aims to equip policy decision-makers with practical skills and frameworks for effectively applying data and evidence in their work.

Civil servants are often presented with different forms of evidence from diverse sources and required to make decisions quickly without the benefit of extensive review or analysis. Developing skills for critically assessing the quality and applicability of common evidence types—and for making sense of conflicting information—is key to building capacity for routine and systematic use of evidence. Decision-makers also play an important role in the generation of new evidence, by identifying evidence gaps and commissioning data collection and research. Understanding requirements for rigorous research enables policymakers to play this role effectively.

Our digital training curriculum consists of six interactive digital units (which can be used online or offline) with accompanying materials and case studies for classroom sessions. The curriculum has been informed by a training needs assessment carried out with our trainee cohorts as well as dialogue with our key training partners—the National School of Public Policy in Pakistan (NSPP) and the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in India.

Training Model:
Our training platform uses a blended learning model, in which individual learners interact at their own pace with key material in a digital unit rather than through a classroom lecture. Each unit is then paired with an in-class session, such as a case study discussion, which reinforces the concepts learned in the unit.

The content is accessible and relevant for a high-level decision-maker who needs to be able to consume, aggregate and commission evidence on relevant policy topics. 

The training units are currently in development, with the full suite of modules expected to be ready in 2016.  

BCURE Digital Training

Digital Training is one of the four core components of EPoD's Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE) program. Visit our BCURE page to learn more.

Training Units in Development

Systematic Approaches to Policy Decisions

Systematic Approaches to Policy DecisionsThis unit reviews alternative approaches to systematic decision making—including cost- benefit analysis, decision analysis, and policy analysis matrices—exploring the role of evidence in each of these frameworks, and the ways in which routine use of evidence can lead to more effective policy decisions.

Becoming an Effective Consumer of Descriptive Evidence

Descriptive EvidenceDescriptive evidence is an important but often neglected form of evidence. The goal in this unit is to improve participants’ ability to assess evidence aimed at characterizing a policy situation. Particular attention will be paid to the role of sampling and its implications for drawing conclusions from the data.

 Becoming an Effective Consumer of Impact Evaluations
Impact EvaluationsThis unit motivates the use of impact evaluation as a key input to policy decision-making, and helps government officials become more informed decision-makers by introducing five critical questions you should ask when consuming an impact evaluation.
Becoming an Effective Consumer of Cost-Benefit Analyses

Cost-Benefit AnalysisCost-benefit analysis is a framework to compare policy decisions in a wide range of areas. In this unit, we will introduce fundamental concepts in cost-benefit analysis, such as the social discount rate, describe various methodologies used to estimate costs and benefits, and highlight common assumptions.

Aggregating Evidence

Aggregating EvidencePolicymakers often navigate multiple conflicting sources of evidence related to a particular policy problem. This unit provides methods to critically aggregate these pieces of evidence – synthesizing data by taking into account quality and external validity, the type of evidence most needed, and the predictions of theory.

 Becoming an Effective Commissioner of Evidence
Commissioning EvidenceBecause the necessary evidence to support policy decisions is not always available, this unit focuses on commissioning new evidence. We present a framework for determining the specific policy questions for which new evidence should be sought, and for identifying what form of evidence would best answer those questions.