Developing a State Learning Agenda: The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

Publication Date: February 6, 2019
Cover to Developing a State Learning Agenda: The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

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The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program supports voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services for at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children up to kindergarten entry. At the federal level, MIECHV has engaged in a strategic approach, the MIECHV Learning Agenda, to develop a portfolio of evidence about the implementation and impacts of MIECHV in multiple settings and contexts. The agenda includes a variety of activities, including performance measurement, continuous quality improvement (CQI), systematic reviews, descriptive research, and implementation and impact evaluation. States and territories receiving funding from MIECHV are encouraged to conduct rigorous state-led evaluations. State-led evaluations address questions of interest to the state and provide new insights on the scale-up and implementation of home visiting programs. MIECHV encourages state awardees to develop their own learning agendas to ensure that they use the best available evidence to improve performance.


This brief will help state MIECHV program staff and evaluators to develop their own learning agendas. It explains what a learning agenda is, how to develop one, and how to integrate it with programmatic and research and evaluation activities, and includes an example from a MIECHV awardee.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • A learning agenda typically includes three components: learning questions, learning activities, and learning materials
  • The primary benefits of developing a learning agenda are the identification of knowledge gaps and the use of evidence to drive decision making, building a continuum of evidence, driving efficient use of resources, reinforcing strategy and policy, supporting organizational change and learning, and fostering adaptive management
  • Steps to developing a learning agenda include engaging stakeholders, developing or refining a theory of change, identifying learning priorities, generating learning questions, cross walking learning questions with potential learning activities, aligning data collection, sequencing learning activities, and developing and disseminating learning materials.


Till, L., & Zaid, S. (2019). Developing a state learning agenda: The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. OPRE Report #2019-14. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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