Last week I had an opportunity to revisit logic models in my course on economic development, where students are working on team projects. I created an exercise designed to show that logic models are a really just a method of mentally organizing answers to the following questions:
- Why do the project?
- What does the project involve?
- How should the project be done?
At the beginning of the semester, I gave students a guide to logic models and had them fill out blank versions in class. Afterward they discussed their thoughts with teammates to identify requirements for the project and create a general game plan for completing it.
In the middle of the semester, students attended a presentation by Mike Behan of Root Capital. Mr. Behan’s presentation serendipitously included an image of a simple logic model, which inspired me to distribute the blank logic model diagram in class once again. I gave students five minutes to write as much as they could in each of the logic model’s boxes, without referring to notes or other resources. After five minutes, students congregated with their teammates to discuss the boxes that they found difficult to complete.
At the end of the exercise, I told students that they needed to have a clear idea of how the different components of their projects fit within the framework of the logic model. If team members found parts of the model too fuzzy and too ill-defined to quickly describe in writing, that was a strong signal that the project would not succeed and that its design needed improvement.