A common model for learning from evaluation assumes that learning occurs when evaluators transmit findings and conclusions to programme participants and stakeholders. Learning is then understood as a cognitive act, happening in the mind of an individual and separated from the rest of our activities. In recent years, this common model has been challenged by scholars who argue for ‘situated learning’ in ‘communities of practice’. This alternative conception emphasizes the context-bound nature of learning (versus learning from material abstracted from context) in relationships between people and implies an intimate connection between knowledge and action. Using as an example an evaluation of a coercion project in Dutch psychiatry, this article illustrates and highlights some of the implications of this conception in terms of the learning that occurs and the roles of the evaluator in developing communities of practice.