Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) Maturity Spectrum (v7)

Resource type
Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) Maturity Spectrum (v7)
USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) and its support mechanism, LEARN, have developed a Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) Framework and Maturity tool to help USAID missions think more deliberately about how to plan for and implement CLA approaches that fit the mission’s context and assist them in achieving their development objectives. While the tool is intended primarily for USAID audiences to be used in participatory self-assessment workshops, the CLA Framework and maturity spectrum are relevant to a wider audience. USAID’s CLA Framework identifies key components and subcomponents of daily work that may be opportunities for intentional, systematic, and resourced CLA. The framework recognizes the diversity of what CLA can look like in various organizations and programs while also giving CLA structure, clarity, and coherence across two key dimensions: • CLA in the Program Cycle: how CLA is incorporated throughout Program Cycle processes, including strategy, project, and activity design and implementation; and • Enabling Conditions: how an organization’s culture, business processes, and resource allocation support CLA integration. Recognizing that CLA is not binary—it’s not an issue of “doing it or not doing it”—PPL and LEARN have developed a spectrum of practice for each of the 16 subcomponents in the framework. The spectrum offers examples of what integration might look like at different stages: Not Yet Present, Emergent, Expanding, Advanced and Institutionalized. The maturity stage descriptions are only illustrative and are intended to spark reflection on current practice and opportunities for improvements. In this resource, each CLA subcomponent page describes the key concepts for that topic and includes a description of the maturity stages. Although the descriptions were originally developed for USAID, the majority of the concepts easily transfer or have equivalents in the partner community. For example, although organizations outside of USAID may not hold “Portfolio Reviews” (part of the Pause & Reflect subcomponent), the majority hold some type of meeting to review programmatic progress. This is the seventh version of the CLA Framework and maturity spectrum. PPL and LEARN will continue reviewed and periodically update them based on user feedback, so if you have comments about the content, please email We would also love to hear how you’ve used this content with your team or organization.
Washington DC
03/01/2023, 12:55
USAID LEARN. (2022). Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) Maturity Spectrum (v7). USAID.