Theory of Change: From novice to master changemaker

The premier online course on Theory of Change

Welcome to the island of Chanoo!

The island of Chanoo

Theory of Change (ToC) is a key approach wherever social change is involved. It is relatively new. Yet more and more often essential, for example for impact measurement or to attract funding.

An e-learning on Theory of Change thinking that is:


anywhere, study at your
own pace


with lots of visualisation, assignments and examples


as applied immediately to your own practice


Screencasts, quizzes, videos, animations, assignments, badges


18 modules, 12+ hours plus many assignments that work towards a first draft of your very own ToC


Combination of strong didactic principles and visual elements that make learning fun

English French Spanish

Also available in French and Spanish

Theory of Change offers social organisations a great framework and approach to build an organisational culture of critical reflection, co-creation with stakeholders and constant analysis of what works, why, for whom and under what circumstances.

Theory of Change is much more than just a tool or instrument. It is a mindset and process toward learning and improving impact. As the cornerstone of impact management, it is indispensable to any purpose-driven organisation targeting social or environmental value creation.

Do you want to learn how to set up a Theory of Change workshop or how to use Theory of Change for Monitoring & Evaluation? Are you ready to take impact management to the next level with the help of Theory of Change? Then enroll now in our one-of-a-kind online course and learn all this and more!

Who is this course for?

  • Social enterprises
  • Development organisations
  • Grant makers
  • Government
  • Charities
  • Impact investors
  • Foundations
  • Municipalities

What will you learn?


Theory of Change practice

Purposes for which to use ToC
– Value of ToC in management of social and environmental change
Underlying issues that led to the development of ToC
Critique ToC sometimes receives


What is a Theory of Change

– Important characteristics of a ToC (change process vs. intervention, product vs. process, visual form vs. narrative form and organisation vs. ecosystem)
– The role of assumptions
– ToC as a compass to help navigate a change process


Theory of Change thinking

– ToC thinking as a process and culture of constant analysis, critical reflection and co-creation
– How to draw on stakeholder engagement and co-creation for ToC development and implementation
– How to apply the three levels of probing (causation, warrant and causal assumption)
– How to apply the Necessary, Sufficient, INUS framework


Assumptions and theory

– Difference between theory and assumptions
– How to bring assumptions to the surface
– How to use theory to develop your ToC
– Distinguish between different types of assumptions
– How to build on different types of mechanisms


The development process

– The ToC development steps
– How to apply three complementary approaches: backward mapping, start with what you do, and an actor-based approach
– How to look for validation at three levels
– How to align to context on different levels
– How to use nested ToCs
– How to apply the behavioural-based generic pathway created by Mayne


Pathways and causal chains

– The meaning of arrows in ToCs
– Chain of causality
– How to construct ToC pathways
– Different properties of causal relationships: INUS, size, validation confidence, likelihood, attention, and forms of causality (linear vs non-linear, threshold, ceiling, delay, and reinforcing vs weakening)


Theory of Change elements

– How to distinguish between inputs, activities, output, outcomes and impacts
– The Theory of Action
– To define the desired attributes of ToC elements
– The structure to formulate an outcome
– The importance to acknowledge side-effects and unintended effects
– How to distinguish between spheres: of control, of influence and of interest


The narrative

– The general narrative: Situation analysis; Vision of success; Purpose & scope; Change story
– How to use focused strategic narratives to zoom in and offer details behind your ToC, relevant to your social and environmental success
– How to use strategy narratives to encourage stakeholder engagement and the input and feedback stakeholders may provide
– How a ToC is related to building a measurement framework


ToC as an adaptive, learning approach

– How to approach a ToC as a living document
– Practical ways to build the appropriate organisation culture
– The value of a flexible and emergent Theory of Action
Scoping and focusing


Quality assessment

– How to recognise 16 common ToC pitfalls
– How to assess the level of detail and completeness of a ToC
– How to conduct a quality audit of a ToC


Your very own Theory of Change

– Throughout the course you apply the lessons learned and develop your very own ToC
– You’ll create an action plan about how ToC thinking can be implemented in your own organisation
– You’ll create a learning agenda based on the formulated assumptions

Trial lesson

One of the introductory lessons is available for free.


The course fee is € 649 (excluding tax).

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About us

The course is developed and maintained by the team behind Changeroo: a consortium at the forefront of ToC-thinking.

We’re a social enterprise specializing in infrastructure development for the impact economy. We aim to lift the ToC and impact management practice to a higher level. This with the goal to support you in being a force for good.

Changeroo offers a software platform to help you build high-quality Theories of Change. As part of the Theory of Change course, you receive a 4-month subscription to this platform for free.

Blended learning courses

Occasionally we partner with experienced training agencies, who develop blended learning propositions as they build upon the e-learning while adding facilitated, live sessions, coaching sessions, and their own expertise and specialization to the proposition.

Check out our blended learning propositions »

Our other courses

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Blended learning courses

9 Sept – 26 Nov 2024

To blended learnings
Introductory course on Theory of Change

Introduction to Theory of Change

49 Euro

Frequently asked questions

The course fee includes access to the e-learning for six months, a workbook, a certificate once you complete the e-learning, and a 4-month subscription to Changeroo.

Yes, upon successful completion of the e-learning, you will receive a digital certificate.

Employers can contact us if they want to verify the validity of a certificate.

The course is available in English, French and Spanish.

Yes, we also have a version with a computer-generated voiceover available (English only). Contact us if you prefer this version and we’ll switch your account to this version. Please note, the version with audio is more data-intensive and therefore takes more time to load.

We are always keen to partner up with networks and training agencies for the purpose of capacity building for Theory of Change thinking. Please don’t hesitate to contact us so we can together explore the possibilities.

You will need a computer with Internet access and a modern Internet browser that allows you to watch videos from Vimeo and open PDF files. We recommend against using Internet Explorer as your Internet browser.

Absolutely, we can send you an invoice for which you can then ask funding approval from your organisation. Please contact us with your details.

The course is suitable for both beginners and those at an intermediate level within the ToC field of practice.

No prerequisites apply and no prior knowledge or experience are necessary to follow this course. Anyone responsible for impact management ought to be able to successfully complete this course.

To tailor the course experience to your own experience and prior knowledge, we encourage you to start the course at a level that aligns with your experience and knowledge level.

  • Module 1: start here if you have no or little experience with Theory of Change.
  • Module 4: start here if you have some basic experience with developing a Theory of Change.
  • Module 6: start here if you have already been through a thorough Theory of Change development process.

The course fee is €649 excluding tax. Tax is added upon checkout. The following amount of sales tax will be added:

  • If you are from outside the EU: 0%
  • If you are from the Netherlands: 21%
  • If you are from the EU and have a valid VAT number: 0% reverse charged VAT
  • If you are from the EU and do not have a VAT number: 21%

When you enroll, you will receive access to all of the course its content for six months. This should be plenty of time to complete it.

Whereas our e-learning is self-directed and self-paced, we do occasionally offer blended learning courses. We then combine our e-learning with, for example, instructor-led, live sessions, classroom exercises, and instructor feedback on assignments. We offer these blended learning courses in partnership with other training agencies.

Check out the blended learning courses currently offered.

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