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Exploring Theory of Change using ‘ChangeBusters’: Train the Trainer

Doubletree Hilton Manchester Piccadilly
County / Region
United Kingdom
Position on the Pathway
Excellence in practice
Fellowship Category
All Fellowship Categories
Event Type
Face to Face Workshops
Teaching and Learning
Start Date
End Date
1 day
Institution Type
Higher Education and Further Education
Price From

All delegates will receive a hard copy of the ChangeBusters game and facilitator pack, plus three example case studies.


A ‘Theory of Change’ describes how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. It can map links between desired goals and designed interventions by focusing on outcomes. It is recommended by HE sector organisations such as Office for Students and TASO and integral to the completion of Access & Participation Plans.

The ChangeBusters game supports users to construct a ‘Theory of Change’ based on evidence from a recent AdvanceHE literature review on student outcomes. This resource uses game-based learning to develop evaluation literacy. By playing the game, users will understand the stages of a Theory of Change, build confidence, explore evaluative questions, and extend learning through application to their own contexts. The goal is better intervention design and evaluation which in turn should lead to better student outcomes.

This day event aims to support those tasked with building evaluation literacy in HE organisations. It will provide an overview of how Theory of Change might be used in access, success and progression spaces of the student lifecycle. Liz and Nathaniel will facilitate ChangeBusters game playing to model how it could be used. Attendees will then learn how to facilitate a ChangeBusters session in their own organisations. All attendees will receive their own physical copy of the ChangeBusters game.


This event aims to support those tasked with building evaluation literacy in HE organisations to understand a Theory of Change and how to build confidence in others by using the ChangeBusters game.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the workshop, attendees will be able to

  • Understand evidence-informed intervention design.
  • Understand the stages of a Theory of Change.
  • Confidently theorise how change happens in pre-determined scenarios.
  • Confidently facilitate ChangeBusters sessions in their own organisations.

Who should attend?

This workshop is aimed at those leading the design and implementation of HE interventions in all areas of the student lifecycle (access, success, progress) and would like to build evaluation literacy across a delivery team/s. This includes a wide range of academic and professional service staff and those in Student Unions/Associations, evaluators/evaluation managers, and those tasked with leading access and participation/ widening participation teams in HE institutions.

Dr Liz Austen

Head of Evaluation and Research
Sheffield Hallam University
Dr Liz Austen
Dr Liz Austen is Head of Evaluation and Research (Student Experience, Teaching and Learning) at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Her role includes external evaluation consultancy across the higher education sector and research and evaluation for her institution which focuses on improving student experiences and outcomes.

Nathaniel Pickering

Senior Lecturer in Student Engagement, Evaluation and Research
Sheffield Hallam University
Nathaniel Pickering
Nathaniel's role includes externally funded research within higher education, and institutional research and evaluation focused on improving student experiences and outcomes. This research focuses on access in to higher education, social justice in education, and educational policy discourse.


09:30-10:00 - Registration

10:00-10:15 - Welcome & Introductions

10:15-10:30 - Overview of the AHE Evidence Base

10:30-11:00 - Overview of a Theory of Change and the HE sector

11:00-11:15 - Break

11:15-12:45 - Play ChangeBusters

12:45-13:30 - Lunch

13:30-14:00 - Reflections on game playing

14:00-15:00 How to facilitate ChangeBusters in your own institutions (Using Facilitator Pack prompts)

15:00-15:15 - Break

15:15-16:00 -  Application of Learning/Next Steps

16:00 - Close