Theory of change essentials online

This interactive online course prepares you to develop a quality theory of change for your programme or organisation which meets industry-recognised quality standards as well as donors' requirements.

Learn how to develop a theory of change by working through the critical stages of the process, including power analysis, systems mapping, pathways of change, evidence and assumptions. Understand where theories of change add value, how they can be used to learn, adapt and assess and explain impact, and how they complement other planning and accountability processes.

Course dates and booking information are below.

Who is it for?

For development practitioners based around the world who want to learn more about theory of change, what it is and the steps to follow when developing a project or programme-level theory of change. Those applying for funding who want to be able to prepare a theory of change which effectively supports their application and demonstrates the impact of their programme. 

No prior knowledge is required but all participants must be able to work in English.

What you will learn

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Explain what a theory of change is
  • Explain how theory of change relates to existing methods for planning and evaluation
  • Follow the steps required to develop a quality theory of change
  • Explain how theories of change can be used by organisations to demonstrate impact


The programme consists of two 3.5 hour interactive online sessions and a group assignment that must be completed between the sessions (4 - 6 hours' work). There is a gap of two weeks between the two online sessions.

Online session 1 

The first online session will include:

  • Background, key components, principles and concepts
  • What theories of change look like
  • How they relate to strategic plans, logframes and monitoring and evaluation frameworks
  • The six steps in developing a theory of change
  • How to look at the big picture of change in relation to specific thematic areas/sectors
  • Stakeholder and systems mapping and strategic assets
  • Understanding potential for influencing change
  • Introduction to assignment case study


Between the two workshops you will work in teams on an assignment to develop a change pathway for the selected case study.

Online session 2 

The second online session will include:

  • Reviewing assignment set
  • Developing change pathways
  • Developing and evidencing assumptions
  • How to use theories of change to develop project and programme plans
  • How theory of change links to monitoring and evaluation and impact
  • Reflecting on and adapting theories of change
  • Learning quiz

Course dates

All times are given in GMT.

Course 1 - Thursday 19 April to Thursday 3 May 2018 (mornings)

Online session 1: Thursday 19 April 2018, 09.30 to 13.00

Assignment: Friday 20 April to Wednesday 2 May 2018

Online session 2: Thursday 3 May 2018, 09.30 to 13.00

Course 2 - Wednesday 27 June to Wednesday 11 July 2018 (afternoons)

Online session 1: Wednesday 27 June 2018, 14.00 to 17.30

Assignment: Thursday 28 June to Tuesday 10 July 2018

Online session 2: Wednesday 11 July 2018, 14.00 to 17.30

Course 3 - Wednesday 17 October to Wednesday 31 October 2018 (mornings)

Online session 1: Wednesday 17 October 2018, 09.30 to 13.00

Assignment: Thursday 18 October to Tuesday 30 October 2018

Online session 2: Wednesday 31 October 2018, 09.30 to 13.00


You will be required to commit to

  • One hour of pre-reading prior to the online course
  • Two 3.5 hour online training sessions facilitated by our theory of change expert facilitator. This training will be interactive - as well as plenary discussions delivered by the facilitator you will work in breakout groups to discuss topics and complete tasks during the online session
  • An assignment between online sessions (typically 4-6 hours). You will work together with other participants to complete a group task by participating in conversations in an online discussion forum. This means that although you are working on the same task as others, you can work in your own time and space – you don't all need to be online at the same time
  • Trainer support is available and feedback will be given

Total commitment = maximum 14 hours over 3 weeks

What technology will I need?

You will need access to a computer or tablet with a microphone and speakers or a headset, and an internet connection. The course will be held on Webex – no additional software is required.

What will I receive?

You will receive an electronic copy of all course materials. A recording of the online plenary training sessions will also be made available. At the end of this course, participants who attend both sessions and complete the assignment will receive a certificate of attendance.

Course prices

Band 1


Band 2

Bond members >£2M annual spend

Band 3

Bond members <£2M annual spend

* 10% off if you book 8 weeks in advance; 5% off 3 or more bookings.

Contact us for special discounts if you're a student or unemployed.


off if you book early*


off multiple bookings*

Event dates

Thursday, April 19, 2018 to Thursday, May 3, 2018

24 places remaining

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 to Wednesday, July 11, 2018

25 places remaining

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 to Wednesday, October 31, 2018

25 places remaining

Thursday, January 10, 2019 to Thursday, January 24, 2019

25 places remaining


Angela Kellett

Angela is an independent consultant specialising in all aspects of monitoring and evaluation including assessing impact and theory of change.