What is a learning network?

There are many different kinds of networks: social networks (e.g., Facebook or LinkedIn), movement networks, innovation networks, impact networks, and, learning networks. Learning networks aim to facilitate partner connections and information-sharing and to create a platform for organically-grown coordinated action. At the core, the ‘network manager’ pushes information out, pulls information back in from the peripheral network members, and then facilitates information exchange across the IMPT network. From this connectivity and communication, action is expected but not deliberately coordinated.

A learning network like the IMPT offers an effective and efficient collaborative mechanism for solving complex problems, such as those experienced by millions of women and girls worldwide. Led by the ‘network manager’ or hub, members come together to identify the complex problem, agree upon a common agenda and goals, and then consent to operate collectively for long periods of time to reach the network’s agreed upon aims. This level of a multi-stakeholder network requires a mutual trust among participants, but also an understanding that as a collective, much more can be accomplished than as individuals or single organizations. As we say at CAMI Health, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” (African Proverb).