Thinking Outside the Classroom: Theories of Change and Measures to Support the Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Distance Learning Programs

This document is intended to be a living framework for thinking and talking about primary and secondary school-aged distance education interventions, beginning in low and middle-income (LMIC) and humanitarian contexts and expanding over time to include distance education interventions designed for high-income contexts. In this document, we provide three theories of change (ToCs) for three types of strategies that may be implemented as part of distance education interventions:

  1. Strategies to improve access to educational opportunities;
  2. Strategies to improve quality of educational opportunities; and
  3. Strategies to improve family support for educational opportunities.

We also identify a set of measures that may be a useful starting point for assessing key near-term and long-term outputs and outcomes within the ToCs. In providing this report, we seek to help practitioners, policymakers, and researchers:

  1. Deepen their understanding of the factors that are likely to shape children’s learning and future enrollment during time away from in-person schooling;
  2. Identify how common distance education strategies for primary and secondary school-aged children are expected to work to improve children’s learning and future enrollment;
  3. By identifying gaps between (1) and (2), generate new or additional strategies that may improve the effectiveness of distance education programs;
  4. Identify key outputs and outcomes for assessment as part of monitoring and evaluation efforts;
  5. Communicate about distance education interventions more effectively by providing an initial taxonomy of terms and noting common alternate terms; and
  6. Identify and adapt measures to support monitoring and evaluation of distance education programs.

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Publicado por

NYU Global TIES for Children

Criado por

Samuel Freel, Carly Tubbs Dolan, Roxane Caires, and Abiraahmi Shankar


Distance Education
Learning Assessment