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Principles for Learning - Conducting Impactful, Inclusive, Scalable, and Sustainable Learning Programs in Emerging Markets

Across the world, rapid change is generating enormous opportunities—and challenges—for those countries, companies, and individuals equipped to meet the demands of the future. For emerging economies to compete, building human capital is key. Investing in training and continuous learning achieves this by providing people with the skills and knowledge to realize their potential. This investment is also vital to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of ending extreme poverty and creating more inclusive societies. But to keep pace with the fast-moving skills frontier, the training and learning sector in these markets needs to adapt too.

To address this need, IFC has partnered with industry leaders to create a set of Principles for Learning for training and advisory service providers working in emerging markets. The principles represent foundational qualities that make a performance improvement project effective and impactful.  They draw on best practices from a range of learning institutions and specialists, experts on gender-inclusive initiatives, and IFC and World Bank staff working in emerging markets, including fragile and conflict-affected situations. The accompanying publication Guide to Training puts the principles into action.

Key messages

  • There are eight Principles for Learning. The principles reflect the four key elements of successful training and skills development programs—they should be impactful, inclusive, scalable, and sustainable.
  • Principle 1: Align learning objectives and evaluation methods with the client’s performance needs and business objectives.
  • Principle 2: Develop engaging learning programs that address the skills and knowledge gaps of participants and increase their resilience.
  • Principle 3: Address performance gaps and challenges specific to emerging markets and fragile and conflict-affected situations.
  • Principle 4: Develop gender-inclusive learning solutions that promote equal access to skill-building programs and reduce barriers to participation.
  • Principle 5: Leverage digital solutions and re-usable components to design interactive learning programs that are cost-effective and scalable.
  • Principle 6: Apply a systematic, competency-based approach in the development and delivery of learning programs to ensure quality and consistency.
  • Principle 7: Use and assist in developing qualified local advisory service providers to design and deliver learning programs.
  • Principle 8: Effectively transition learning programs to the client to promote sustainability and long-term business resilience.


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