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FAQs and Definitions

What is a Learning Agenda, and what is the purpose of the questions available in the dashboard?

Learning agendas, or evidence-building plans, provide an evidence-building roadmap to support effective and efficient agency functioning. Read more about Learning Agendas and other evidence planning documents required by the Evidence Act here.

Learning Agendas are organized around priority questions that articulate where evidence is most needed to inform decision-making. The full Learning Agenda documents provide additional information about the agency’s plans to build evidence to address the question. Learning Agendas do not include answers to these questions; if the agencies had such answers, the questions would not reflect their highest priority evidence building needs. Access agency Learning Agendas here.

How were questions selected for inclusion in the dashboard?

The dashboard includes all priority questions listed in the published Agency-wide Learning Agendas for CFO Act agencies. Some agencies structured their Learning Agendas with broad overarching questions that are then supplemented with a series of more focused questions. Both types of questions are included in the dashboard.

Are these the only questions and topics of interest for these agencies?

No! The Learning Agenda process is intended to identify and focus attention on priority questions, and particularly those that align with agency Strategic Objectives. They reflect the strategic evidence planning process required by the Evidence Act. Additional evidence needs are also articulated through Annual Evaluation Plans, and other research planning documents developed by various offices within these Federal agencies.

How do I navigate the dashboard?

There are multiple ways to explore and filter the Learning Agenda questions.

  • To Filter by Agency: Click on the agency “bubble” at the top or select the agency of interest from the list on the left-hand side (below Topic and Focus). Hover over small bubbles to see the label if it’s not visible.
  • To Filter by Topic: Click on the topic “bubble” at the top right or select the topic of interest from the list on the left-hand side. Topics can be combined to view questions that are related to both topics by choosing one from the list and then another from the drop-down list where it says “combine with a second topic.” Alternatively, selecting one topic from the list and another from the bubbles will do the same thing.
  • To search for a specific key word: type the word of interest in the box at the top left and press enter.
  • To reset the list of questions either re-click the bubble selected, or clear or reset to “all” on the filters on the left-hand side.

I filtered the list for topics of interest to me, but no questions appeared on the screen. What happened?

If there are no questions that are tagged with the particular mix of topics selected, then none will appear on the screen. Reset the list of questions by either re-clicking the bubble selected, or unchecking any selected filters and checking “all” to reset the list and try a different filter.

Can I download the information for the questions that are of interest to me?

Yes! When you identify Learning Agenda questions of particular interest, you can add them to your “list” by clicking on the question and then on “ADD TO YOUR LIST” in the pop-up box. Once you have identified your questions of interest, click on the button to “VIEW YOUR LIST” to see those questions you selected. The Download Your List button in the top right will allow you to download the information specific to those questions.

I found a question that I'm interested in learning more about, what should I do next?

Clicking on a question will bring up a pop-up that displays the full question text, the relevant topics, and a link to the relevant agency Learning Agenda where you can find additional information about agency plans for building evidence in response to that question.

Question Focus


Consistent with what OMB M-19-23 refers to as “mission strategic” questions, the question relates to how the agency meets, delivers services toward, measures success of, or otherwise executes their mission.


Consistent with what OMB M-19-23 refers to as “agency operational” questions, the question relates to how the agency conducts its internal operations as it works to deliver on mission, and may touch on topics like grant-making, HR, financial management systems, IT, remote/hybrid/telework, etc.

PMA-related Topics

Business of Government

Question relates to the priorities of the President's Management Agenda related to Federal contracts and financial assistance, including but not limited to, Federal acquisition practices and requirements, and financial management systems.

Customer Experience & Service Delivery

Question relates to customer experience and/or service delivery as defined by A-11, Section 280. - CX refers to the public's perceptions of and overall satisfaction with interactions with an agency, product, or service. The term refers to a combination of factors that result from touchpoints between an individual, business, or organization and the Federal Government over the duration of an interaction and relationship, including ease/simplicity, efficiency/speed, equity/transparency of the process, perceived value of the service itself, and interaction with employees. - Service delivery refers to the set of interactions between a customer and Federal Agency such as applying for a benefit or loan, requesting a document, etc. where the focus is on how services are delivered as opposed to the outcomes resulting from benefit receipt.

Federal Workforce

Question relates to the Federal workforce broadly and/or the workforce within an agency specifically. Topics addressed within the workforce include, but are not limited to: recruitment, hiring, and retention; employee engagement; DEIA in the Federal workforce; employee pay; workforce and succession planning; the future of work; skills needed by the Federal workforce.


Question relates to the topic of equity as defined by EO 13985: the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality. Underserved communities refer to populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life. Questions can relate to the following topics, for example: advancing equity in hiring, equitable delivery of services, equitable outcomes for program participants, etc.

Thematic Topics

Climate Change

Question relates to the area of climate change and/or environmental sustainability or resilience, including more specific areas like: sustainable climate solutions, addressing the climate crisis, risks related to climate change, adapting programs/policies/etc. to account for climate risks or change, etc. Does not refer to general environmental questions, such as those related to habitat conservation or pollution.

Criminal Justice

Question relates to programs, policies, or other aspects of criminal justice, crime prevention and reduction, and law enforcement.


Question relates to capacities, tools and practices, investments, and policies to support improved cybersecurity.

Data Related

Question relates to the full range of issues associated with data, including but not limited to data availability, sharing, access, security, and the design and implementation of data systems and architecture.

DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility)

Question relates specifically to the topics of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the Federal Workforce as defined by EO:

  • Diversity means the practice of including the many communities, identifies, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, cultures, and beliefs of the American people, including underserved communities.
  • Equity means the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment.
  • Inclusion means the recognition, appreciation, and use of the talents and skills of employees of all backgrounds.
  • Accessibility means the design, construction, development, and maintenance of facilities, information and communication technology, programs, and services so that all people, including people with disabilities, can fully and independently use them.

Disaster Preparedness & Response

Question relates to disaster preparedness and response generally, as well as specific programs or policies that address disasters. This does not include questions related to pandemic response.

Economic development

Question relates to programs or policies intended to support economic development as well as trends, drivers, or other factors associated with economic development at the local, regional, or national scale.


Question relates to K-12 education, as well as post-secondary education, including college, university, and career-technical education.


Question relates to investments, programs, or policies related to the development or use of energy resources. Does not refer to questions about the environment or climate change.

Environmental Justice

Question relates to evidence needs to inform, support, or further efforts to achieve environmental justice. Does not refer to general questions about the environment or climate change. Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

Future of Work

Question relates to the future of the Federal workforce and workplaces building on lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and workforce and workplace trends.

Grant Programs & Administration

Question relates to all aspects of grant program design, administration, implementation, and/or evaluation.


Question relates to housing policy, programs, and financing, or efforts to address homelessness.


Question relates to programs or policies affecting immigration patterns or the experiences of immigrant populations.

Individuals with Disabilities

Question relates to programs or policies specific to individuals with disabilities.


Question relates to the full range of infrastructure investments and programs, including but not limited to transportation and communication systems. This also includes questions driven by implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

National Security

Question relates to the security or defense of the United States, including foreign policies or technological and other investments with national security implications.

Native American & Tribal Communities

Question relates to programs, policies, or other actions that are related to, led by, or may affect Native populations or Tribal communities.

Natural Resources & Environment

Question relates to broadly to natural resource management and environmental concerns, including topics such as pollution, habitat loss, environmental restoration, and protection of endangered ecosystems and species. Does not include questions related to climate change, energy resources, or environmental justice.

Pandemic Response

Question relates to preparation for, response to, and recovery from pandemics, including COVID-19, as well as future pandemics, ensuring the Government is prepared to handle future public health emergencies. Potential topics may include, but not be limited to: preparations for future pandemics, adaptations/changes in operations as a result of the pandemic, structural changes required by the pandemic, addressing future disruptions to the economy, returning to pre-COVID activities, etc.

Public Health

Question relates to public health topics.

Social Services

Question relates to the design or administration of social service or benefit programs, including but not limited to, unemployment insurance, housing programs, income supports, social security, early childhood programs, etc.

Veterans Benefits & Services

Question relates to programs and policies affecting veterans, including the range of available benefits and services.

Workforce Development & Employment

Question relates to programs, policies, or other actions aimed at supporting participation in the workforce. Does not include questions related to the Federal workforce.

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