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Designing a robust
Theory Of Change

Fast-track your ability to create a well-articulated impact strategy to communicate with funders, mobilise stakeholders and inform your impact measurement and validation needs.

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4.3 out of 5 rating (500+ reviews)

Online with cohort option

Beginner to intermediate

Exam and Certificate of Completion

TOC target audience

In a nutshell

Enhance your ability to design and plan effective social and environmental projects based on a systematic, powerful and internationally recognised framework. This course will empower you to identify the root causes of social issues, articulate goals, outcomes and activities and define the causal pathways that create positive change. Our experienced instructors will guide you from start to finish and provide relevant tools, templates and examples to turn theory into action.

Learning goals

Case studies

What our learners say about the course

Theory of Change

Course modules

The course is structured around 8 lessons guiding you from the foundations to more advanced practices to develop a Theory of Change.

Module 1: Purpose of a Theory of Change 🕒 2h00

Get introduced to the purpose, benefits and key steps of developing a strong Theory of Change. Discover how to perform root-cause analysis and set compelling impact goals for your project.

Lesson 1: Strategising Social Change
  • • Video 1: Introduction to Social Change
  • • Video 2: What is a Theory of Change?
  • • Video 3: Theory of Change Illustration
  • • Video 4: Key Takeaways
  • • Exercises
  • • Additional Resources:
    1. Digital Literacy - Case Study
    2. Freshspectrum - Article - What is a Theory of Change?
    3. Center for Theory of Change - Article - TOC Background

Lesson 2: Key Milestones for Theory of Change Development
  • • Video 1: Introduction
  • • Video 2: An Overview of the Theory of Change Development Process
  • • Video 3: Venture on a Journey that Suits Your Organisation Best
  • • Video 4: Participation Matters - Facilitating Theory of Change Development Processes
  • • Video 5: Key Takeaways
  • • Exercises
  • • Additional Resources:
    1. Do's and Don'ts for Stakeholder Participation in ToC Development Process
    2. James Noble - Article - Theory of Change in Ten Steps

Lesson 3: Defining Goals Tackling Root Causes
  • • Video 1: Introduction
  • • Video 2: Perform root-cause analysis to build a Problem Tree
  • • Video 3: Turn the Problem Tree into a Solution Tree
  • • Video 4: Practice: Exercise - Goal Setting for the Digital Literacy Program
  • • Video 5: Key Takeaways
  • • Exercises
  • • Additional Resources: Social Impact Navigator - Article - How to formulate impact-oriented project objectives

Module 2: Create your pathways of change 🕒 2h30

Learn how to apply the backward mapping approach to illuminate the causal relationships between your activities, outputs, outcomes and impact goals. Turn a visual map into a compelling narrative to communicate with your stakeholders.

Lesson 1: Performing Backwards Mapping to Create Pathways of Change
  • • Video 1: Introduction
  • • Video 2: Key Terminology
  • • Video 3: Backwards Mapping Part 1
  • • Video 4: Backwards Mapping Part 2
  • • Video 5: Assumptions: Necessary Conditions For Change
  • • Video 6: Identifying Assumptions
  • • Video 7: Defining Key Interventions
  • • Video 8: Key Takeaways
  • • Practitioners Insights: Adam Richards (Social Value UK)
  • • Exercises
  • • Additional Resources: Center for Theory of Change - Article - Backwards Mapping and Connecting Outcomes

Lesson 2: Narrating & Validating Your Theory of Change Model
  • • Video 1: Introduction
  • • Video 2: Narrating Your Story of Change
  • • Video 3: Illustration of a ToC Narrative
  • • Video 4: Optional - Outcome Harvesting
  • • Video 5: Key Takeaways
  • • Exercises
  • • Additional Resources:
    1. ToC example: ActKnowledge & The Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change - Guided Example: Project Superwomen
    2. Best Practice Example: The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, Theory of Change Narrative
    3. EPRM - Article - Developing your project’s Theory of Change
    4. Intrac for Civil Society - Article - Outcome Harvesting
    5. Ford Foundation Mena Office - Article - Outcome Harvesting

Module 3: Validate your Theory of Change 🕒 2h00

Develop a measurement plan based on strong impact indicators to start collecting meaningful data for reporting and decision-making whilst validating your Theory of Change along the way

Lesson 1: Shifting From Intention to Evidence
  • • Video 1: Introduction
  • • Video 2: Introducing Types of Data
  • • Video 3: Key Takeaways
  • • Practitioners Insights:
    1. Mainak Roy (Simple Education Foundation)
    2. Adam Richards (Social Value UK)
  • • Exercises
  • • Additional Resources: The Stanford Social Innovation Review - Article - A Playbook for Designing Social Impact Measurement

Lesson 2: Identifying Indicators to Measure Impact
  • • Video 1: Introduction
  • • Video 2: Defining Good Indicators
  • • Video 3: Leveraging Existing Indicators
  • • Video 4: Creating Indicators
  • • Video 5: Targets and Thresholds
  • • Video 6: Key Takeaways
  • • Practitioners Insight:
    1. Mainak Roy (Simple Education Foundation)
    2. Sneha Lakhotia (Wai Research)
  • • Exercises
  • • Additional Resources: Developing Indicators A SMART Criteria Checklist - PDF

Lesson 3: Defining Data Collection Tools and Processes
  • • Video 1: Introduction
  • • Video 2: Quantitative Approaches
  • • Video 3: Qualitative Approaches
  • • Video 4: The MEAL Framework
  • • Video 5: Setting Up the MEAL Framework
  • • Video 6: Key Takeaways
  • • Practitioners Insights:
    1. Laura Kistemaker (Justice42)
    2. Mainak Roy (Simple Education Foundation)
  • • Exercises
  • • Additional Resources: Template MEAL Framework - Excel

Interactive sessions (Optional) 🕒 3 x 90 minutes

Spice up your learning journey by joining 3 interactive sessions with an accredited trainer and a group of like-minded peers! The social learning package will help you confidently progress in your ability to design or evaluate a Theory of Change while giving you the opportunity to share experiences, expand your network and delve deeper into topics of interest.

Together with leading experts

Sharon Weir co-founded 4th Wheel Social Impact in 2010. She has designed and implemented more than 100 research, evaluation and communication projects in the public and private sectors across domains from education to health, women empowerment and CSR.

Tatjana Mauthofer is a senior expert in monitoring and evaluation and social impact management at Mainlevel Consulting. She guides global development and social impact groups (e.g., GIZ, UNWomen, Fairtrade Germany) in formulating Theory of Change and creating innovative evaluation methods for outcome measurement.
Delivery mode

Choose the delivery that works best for you

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Autonomous learning

The learning experience that fits your busy working schedule and allows you to learn at your own pace from wherever you are. Access a neat online course structured around bite-sized videos and a wealth of resources that guide you through the Theory of Change design process.

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Social learning

Spice up your learning journey by blending the online course with a set of three weekly interactive sessions. The sessions offer you an opportunity to meet and share experiences with like-minded peers, ask burning questions to the trainer and dive deeper into specific issues.

*Need an invoice?

No problem, you can mark your preferred payment option in the check-out phase

*Need financial support?

Apply for financial aid on the basis of your need and merit

Insightful pieces to drive positive social & environmental impact

Any questions?

Contact Timothy

Did you know that 92% of our course takers are satisfied? That’s why we boldly guarantee that our courses will not let you down. Contact me in case you have any questions about our courses.
Co-founder of Efiko Academy, Timothy
Any questions?

Contact Timothy

Did you know that 92% of our course takers are satisfied? That’s why we boldly guarantee that our courses will not let you down. Didn’t get what you expected from the course? Let us know and get a full reimbursement up to 15 days as an Autonomous Learner, or up to 5 days as a Social Learner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can't find the answer to your question? Contact us on

1. Who is this course for?

This course is designed for impact project leaders, funders and sustainability consultants eager to learn an internationally recognised framework for planning and designing social and environmental projects. No prior experience is required – the course offers a step-by-step approach for designing a Theory of Change from start to finish.

2. Is this a course for beginners or experts?

This course is mainly designed for social entrepreneurs, NGO leaders, Measurement & Evaluation officers and intermediaries supporting social purpose organisations. While prior practical experience is a plus, it is no pre-requisite to start the course. The complexity of the content increases with every chapter but many examples, exercises and case studies will help you build self-confidence and deep understanding of each step of the journey. 

3. Does this course offer a certificate?

Yes, a certificate signed by 4th Wheel Social Impact, Mainlevel Consulting and Efiko Academy, is provided upon completion of the course.

4. I don’t understand something in the course, who can answer my questions?

In all packages, you’re invited to join the community platform where you can ask your burning questions. 
In other cases,  is always open for questions.

5. In which languages can I access the course?

For now, the course is only available in English.

The content will soon be subtitled in various languages.

6. Will I get accredited when completing the course?

After finishing the training and successfully passing the final examination, you can earn the course Official Certificate of Completion co-delivered by Mainlevel Consulting, 4th Wheel Social Impact and Efiko Academy.

7. Who are the course partners - 4th Wheel Social Impact and Mainlevel Consulting?

As a research and advisory firm, 4th Wheel provides valid and sophisticated insights into social welfare programmes to enable data-driven decisions. Practical and culturally relevant social impact assessment strategies are designed for organisations that involve all stakeholders, not just evaluation experts. Impact evaluation is incorporated into programme design by developing contextual Theory of Change (ToC) frameworks and building impact-focused solutions.

Mainlevel provides services in monitoring, evaluation and digitalisation to organisations in the public and private sectors. From developing digital monitoring systems and conducting evaluations to strategic guidance on digitalisation and developing IT solutions, they are committed to enabling our clients to manage complex programmes more effectively and efficiently.

8. Can I pay with PayPal or debit card?

Yes, we offer the option to pay with a credit card (Mastercard, VISA) or PayPal. If you would like to pay with your debit card, we advise you to create a free prepaid PayPal account here and use it to make your payment.

9. How secure are the payments made on Efiko?

Every transaction on Efiko is performed and secured by Stripe, a reliable payment processor.

10. Can I sign up for a course with my team or department?

Yes, you can secure several tickets at once by contacting us at . Include the number of people you would like to enrol and we’ll get back to you promptly. We also offer B2B/group deals. Don’t hesitate to contact us to request a demo.

11. Can I pay even if my native currency is not the Euro?

Yes, Stripe processes payments in 130+ currencies. PayPal also allows you to convert money to a different currency.

12. Can I ask for an invoice?

Yes, we can provide an invoice or proof of purchase so you can get reimbursed by your employer or company. Simply reach out to us at stating the course name and package you’d like to take and for how many people.

13. Can I get reimbursed in case I’m not satisfied with the course?

Yes, we do offer reimbursement on the course in case you’re not satisfied with it. The reimbursement applies following these conditions:
a) Up to 15 calendar days after you enrolled to the course or up until 5 days after the introductory session if you register as Social Learner;
b) The guarantee applies up until you consume 20% of the course content;
Contact to ask for a reimbursement. We will review your request and in case your demand complies with the above conditions we will transfer the amount you paid, minus transaction costs.

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You can access the course brochure by clicking here.

If you have any questions about the course, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

Best wishes,
Timothy Lambert
+32 475 37 30 29

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The Efiko Academy team