Last week, Marian and I attended the American Evaluation Association’s annual conference in Baltimore. The theme of the conference was “learning to evaluate…evaluating to learn.” Throughout the four-day conference, we were charged to learn new skills and reflect on the many ways that evaluators learn from our clients in the course of our work together. Looking back, I’m amazed at all that I had gained in a few short days. With over 500 sessions to choose from throughout the four-day conference, we were certainly spoiled for choice. I really enjoyed attending skill building and demonstration sessions where I learned practical applications in the field. I was trained on an alternative to the traditional literature review, how to succinctly tell a program’s story and how to meet the diverse needs of multiple stakeholders. Watch my monthly blog column, research tidbits, in the coming months for brief overviews of these topics. A definite highlight of my trip was spending time with our client, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) staff. Dr. James Riedel from GSUSA (with some assistance from Marian) presented retrospective pre-test data from the PAVE project in a multi-paper session on alternatives to randomized control trials. It was so exciting to see how the work we had done together in the PAVE project will benefit other evaluators in the field. Of course, no American Evaluation Association conference would be complete without an opportunity for attendees to evaluate the conference. Attendees were asked to report “key insights” we gained throughout the week. For me, my key insight occurred in a session about evaluation theory. The presenters discussed how evaluators have as much to learn from clients’ expertise as they do from ours. This is precisely why I enjoy evaluation so much; we’re always learning from our clients. I look forward to reflecting on a year’s worth of learning in the field at the 2008 American Evaluation Association conference in Denver!