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Learning Agenda

What is the Learning Agenda?
The Learning Agenda, also known as an evidence-building plan, identifies evidence gaps related to the Department’s strategic goals and objectives. The Learning Agenda is built around a set of priority questions that can be answered through rigorous evidence building, including research, evaluation, statistics, and analysis. The evidence built around each one of these questions will advance the Department’s ability to effectively achieve its strategic goals and objectives, both in the short term and in the long term.

The Learning Agenda also serves as a tool for teams within the Department – and potentially external stakeholders, as well – to spur coordinated research and analysis. The priority questions in the learning agenda were identified through a whole-agency effort, and all of them will require coordinated planning and collaboration to answer.  It is hoped that the learning agenda might also allow external stakeholders with capacity for rigorous evidence building to engage on topics of importance to the Department’s mission.

Finally, the Learning Agenda serves as a public document of the Department’s priorities for evidence building.  This enables transparency and accountability as the Department invests in evaluation, statistics, data analysis, and other types of research and analysis with the ultimate goal of delivering on its mission for the American people.

How was this Learning Agenda developed?
The entire Department contributed to this Learning Agenda.  The identification of evidence gaps and priority questions was tightly integrated into the Department’s strategic planning process.  This will ensure that evidence-building activities over the next four years will directly support the Department’s strategic goals and objectives.  The evidence gaps identified, and the priority questions that resulted, came from components across the Department – including components that focus on law enforcement, litigation, grant making, and other essential activities under all five of the Department’s strategic goals.

The Learning Agenda is a living document
The Learning Agenda is meant to be iterative and flexible.  Just as identifying evidence gaps and defining priority questions was a whole-agency effort, implementing the Learning Agenda through rigorous evidence building will require significant coordination and collaboration among components across the Department.  As this work progresses, the priority questions will likely evolve and adapt to changes in technical capacity and resources; results and findings may answer preliminary questions and open up new lines of research.  Accordingly, this Learning Agenda will be revisited and updated annually.