Action Learning

What is Action Learning?

Action Learning is a process that involves a small group working on real problems, taking action, and learning as individuals, as a team, and as an organisation. It helps organisations develop creative, flexible and successful strategies to pressing problems.

Action Learning Solves Problems

Action Learning solves problems and develops leaders simultaneously because its simple rules force participants to think critically and work collaboratively. Action Learning is particularly effective for solving complex problems that may appear unsolvable. It elevates the norms, the collaboration, the creativity, and the courage of groups.

Action Learning assists students in reflecting on the advancement of their group functioning, rather than on their problem solving. In this way, Action Learning participants become effective leaders as they solve difficult problems. Action learning is the process of bringing thinking and action into harmony. Learning is a continuous process and is best achieved with an open, probing mind, an ability to listen, question and explore ideas.

What happens in an action learning set? Through reflection, we gain a deeper understanding of the issues we face. This enables us to manage change more effectively, and meet the challenges we face in the workplace. It’s this ethos that is at the centre of our work. Through working in action learning sets, we bring together diverse peers or people from within the same organisation to work through issues, share ideas and challenge perceptions in a trusting, supportive environment

Benefits

Every situation has its unique issues and challenges so the benefits you glean from action learning are largely defined by what specific matters you bring to the process. You can expect to experience many positive changes including:

  • Acquiring long lasting problem solving skills
  • Promoting leadership skills
  • Being challenged by the team
  • Learning best practice
  • Evolving fresh ideas
  • Forming effective plans for immediate implementation
  • Achieving desired results in a constructive way

In my own experience, having completed a Master's in Professional Development, which was an Action Learning Degree, it dawned on me that, my personal struggle with mainstream education, was not actually my issue, on the contrary, it was the learning style that did not suit my particular learning style.

Even though the information age has changed the education system beyond recognition, the core structure is still the same, it is STILL about retaining and regurgitating information, which is then tested and quite often the results do not reflect the true abilities of the candidate.

On the particular set that I was part of, there were six of us, all at the Master's level but each of us were in different fields. The methodology that involves interaction, discussion, raising questions and experiential learning was far more effective than reading something from a book or a screen.

In the first instance, students and even children, should not be tested and graded according to their results on a particular day, they should firstly be tested to ascertain their particular LEARNING STYLE, something that David Kolb researched a long time ago, along with Honey & Mumford.

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