Action learning is not a product you can purchase off the shelf. It’s a way of approaching problem-solving that emphasizes exploration and adaption. In other words, it’s a dynamic process that helps you learn as you go. So if you’re looking for a static, one-size-fits-all solution, action learning is not for you. But if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, it just might be the perfect fit.
Action Learning: What is it, and how can it help you? Action Learning is not a product but a way of doing things. It is based on the principle that learning is a process that is most effective when it is active, participatory, and done in the context of real-world problems. Action Learning has its roots in the work of educational psychologist John Dewey and adult education theorist Paolo Freire. Dewey believed that learning is an active process and that we learn best by doing. Freire believed that education should be oriented toward solving real-world problems. The Action Learning approach was developed in the 1950s by Reg Revans, who then worked with NASA on problem-solving in engineering and science. Revans realized that traditional problem-solving methods were often ineffective because they did not involve the people who were doing the work. He developed Action Learning to include workers in the problem-solving process.
Since then, Action Learning has been used in various settings, including businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and schools. It has been used to solve problems as diverse as reducing race relations tension in a police department and increasing sales in a company. Action Learning is particularly well suited to solving complex problems because it engages multiple stakeholders in problem-solving. It also provides a structure for addressing multiple aspects of a problem simultaneously. Finally, Action Learning can help create buy-in for change because it involves those who will be affected by the solution in developing it.
Action Learning: The benefits of exploration and adaptation: There are many benefits to using action learning, including the ability to explore and learn from new situations and adapt to change. This type of learning is often used in business settings, as it allows organizations to test and implement new ideas rapidly. It also helps employees develop new skills and knowledge as they actively engage in learning. Additionally, action learning can promote team building and collaboration by encouraging different individuals to work together towards a common goal.
Action Learning: How to get started: Many people think of Action Learning as a product, but it is a way of doing things. It is a process that can be used in any organization to help people learn from their experiences and to make better decisions. If you are new to Action Learning, the best way to get started is to find a company or organization already using it. Many Action Learning programs are available, and you can find one that fits your needs and interests. You can also learn more about Action Learning by reading books or articles on the subject.
Action learning is premised on the belief that learning is not simply a matter of acquiring new skills or knowledge through reading or listening to lectures. Instead, it is about doing something differently, applying and using new skills or knowledge, or thinking differently. In other words, it is an active, experiential process.
The Way Business901 Practices Action Learning
Learning is only effective when it leads to practical applications, demonstrating that we have internalized and can utilize the new information. In other words, learning is about change. The best way to learn how to do something different is to focus on that task at hand – something we have an interest in, an issue we need to tackle, an opportunity to grasp, or a problem we need to resolve. By learning from this experience, we can acquire as much information from our successes as our mistakes.
Simply doing something different is not enough. We need to learn from what we do to progress and improve. This means understanding why certain things don’t work, learning from our successes, and understanding how they came about. Taking the time to reflect on our experiences is essential to gain the necessary insights. Action learning stresses the simultaneous achievement of actions and learning. It is a process designed to address challenges and problems. It involves five steps:
Assess the situation: Understand the problem and identify the people involved. The first step in action learning is understanding how the problem or challenge you wish to address has developed. For example, is it a long-standing problem, or has it developed recently? Who else is involved in the problem? What impact does it have on them? Who else needs to be involved in solving the problem?
Frame the problem: Ask questions about the challenge and develop a shared understanding of the issue. Once you have gained an understanding of the situation, you can frame the problem. This will help you to identify the issue at hand and select the right people to work with on the challenge. This involves asking questions about the challenge and developing a shared understanding of the issue. Only then can you begin to develop possible solutions. When framing a problem, it is helpful to consider the following questions: –
- Why do we have this problem?
- What are the causes of this problem?
- What are the facts and figures associated with it?
- What are the consequences?
- What are we hoping to achieve?
- What are the constraints we are working within?
Explore options: Acquire information and knowledge about potential adaptations. Action learning is about doing something differently. After you have framed the problem, explore the potential adaptations you could make sense of. This allows you to use your experiences and offers you the chance to acquire new skills and knowledge. This might include brainstorming, meeting with others, conducting interviews, reading up on related information, and participating in discussions.
Reframe the problem: Appraise the options and select a course of action. At this stage, you will have information and knowledge about the problem, but perhaps more importantly, you have also developed a shared understanding of the issue. This might include asking yourself:
- Are the causes of this problem still relevant?
- Are the facts and figures as they were?
- Are the consequences still as serious?
Take action: Implement the chosen adaptations and monitor their effects. Action Learning is about taking new insights and putting them into action. It is less about theory, facts, and data and more about applying these things to real-life problems. We take a hands-on approach to workplace learning, allowing employees to gain real experience and skills, reflect on their own experiences, discover new things about themselves, and grow as people. It is the closest form of learning to real-life situations putting your new skills, knowledge, and insights into practice.
Action Learning is not a product but a way of doing things. Action Learning is an experiential approach to workplace learning utilizing a continuous cycle of exploration and adaptation. When action learning is done well, it is not about producing a report or a document. It is not about the ideas and thoughts we express. Instead, it is about how we create those ideas and thoughts. It is about how we:
- Approach our challenges.
- Tackle our problems.
- Learn from our actions.
- Apply our knowledge and skills.
As David Kolb states, it is about a “way of thinking and doing.”
Action Learning: Tips for success: Here are some tips to help you successfully use action learning in your organization:
- Encourage open and honest communication among team members.
- Make sure everyone understands the problem or challenge that needs to be addressed.
- Help team members generate creative solutions to the problem.
- Encourage team members to try out new ideas and approach problems differently.
- Provide support and resources to help team members implement their solutions.
- Evaluate the results of the action learning project and make adjustments as needed.
Action Learning: Case studies: Action learning is not a product but a way of doing things. It is a collaborative, problem-solving process to tackle knotty issues and challenges. It is based on the premise that people learn best by doing, reflecting on their experience, and sharing their learning with others. There are many different action learning approaches, but all share some common features:
A group of people come together to work on a real issue or challenge. – The group members reflect on their own experiences and perspectives, as well as on the collective wisdom of the group. The group members share their learning with other stakeholders. The group works together to find creative solutions to the issue or challenge.
Action learning has been used in various settings, from businesses and nonprofit organizations to schools and government agencies. Many of the world’s most successful companies, including IBM, Walmart, and Nokia, have used action learning to solve complex problems and develop innovative products and services.
Action Learning: Resources: There are a number of excellent resources available on Action Learning, from books and articles to websites and online courses. Below are some of the best:
Action Learning: Research and Practice, by Michael Marquardt (2010)
Action Learning: History, Theory, and Practice, by Anne Brockbank and Ian McGill (1998)
Action Learning for Managers, by Michael Marquardt (1993) Articles:
“What is Action Learning?” by Michael Marquardt (2009)
“The Application of Action Learning in Organizational Change,” by Anne Brockbank (2006)
“The Power of Action Learning” by Ian McGill (2005)
www.actionlearning.com (The Action Learning Institute)
www.ialr.org (The International Association for Action Learning)
Action Learning: FAQs
What is Action Learning? Action Learning is not a product but a way of doing things. It is based on the premise that learning takes place best when it is linked directly to taking action. In Action Learning, participants work together in small groups (called “sets”) to tackle real-world problems or opportunities. They share their knowledge and experience and challenge and support each other as they take action, reflect on the results, and learn from their mistakes.
How did Action Learning get started? Action Learning has its roots in the work of social psychologist Kurt Lewin, who developed the concept of “reflection” in the 1940s. Lewin believed that people learn best by reflecting on their own experiences. In the 1960s and 1970s, several management theorists began applying Lewin’s ideas to businesses and organizations. The most well-known of these was Reg Revans, is often credited with inventing Action Learning.
How does Action Learning differ from other types of learning? Action Learning is unique in its focus on linking learning directly to action. Other types of learning (such as classroom learning or on-the-job training) can be valuable, but they don’t always lead to immediate changes in behavior or results. With Action Learning, participants are encouraged to put what they’re learning into practice right away, so they can see firsthand the impact of their actions.
What are some of the benefits of Action Learning? There are many benefits to using Action Learning, both for individuals and organizations. Some of the most notable benefits include: -Improved problem-solving abilities -Greater creativity and innovation -Enhanced teambuilding and collaboration -Increased motivation and engagement
Are there any drawbacks to using Action Learning? All methods have advantages and disadvantages, and Action Learning is no different. Some potential drawbacks to using this approach include: -The need for commitment from all members of a team -The possibility that members will feel overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility placed on them -The need for a skilled facilitator to guide the process
Contact us: If you are interested in implementing Action Learning within your organization or finding out more about how it could benefit you and your employees, get in touch with us today. At its core, Action Learning empowers individuals and teams to solve problems and achieve goals. It is a process that can be used in various settings, from businesses and charities to schools and healthcare organizations. Please contact us today if you would like to learn more about how Action Learning could help you and your organization. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and requirements and answer any questions you may have.