What do we mean by learning?

Learning something new about your work or your community. Once you’ve gathered some learning, you might:

  • Keep doing something that’s working well
  • Decide to do something differently within your project or organisation
  • Share your learning with other organisations.

Learning as you go will help your project and your community

If you look at what you’re doing and learning as you go, it could help your project grow and develop. This means you can hang on to the bits that are going great. And change the things that aren’t going so well.

Focus on learning about whatever will be useful for you

Yes, if you have over £10,000 of National Lottery funding from us, we ask for progress updates. But what you want to learn about is up to you. The learning you gather isn’t for us – it's whatever will help your organisation, your project, your community and the sector. You decide:

  • what information you’d like to gather
  • what you want to find out about your community and your work
  • the questions you’d like to ask and answer
  • how you’d like to go about gathering and using your learning
  • who else you want your learning to be for

Depending on what’s involved, the process for gathering useful learning can get called ‘research’, ‘evaluation’ or ‘reflection’, for example. Whatever you call it, the basic steps for gathering learning that’s useful to you are the same.

We’ve got a handy step-by-step guide on gathering useful learning. And a list of helpful tools and resources.