The Action Learning Handbook: Powerful Techniques for Education, Professional Development and Training

The Action Learning Handbook: Powerful Techniques for Education, Professional Development and Training

The Action Learning Handbook: Powerful Techniques for Education, Professional Development and Training

The Action Learning Handbook: Powerful Techniques for Education, Professional Development and Training


Action learning is a continued process of learning and reflection with the support of a group of colleagues, working on real issues. The action learning method is increasingly used to bring innovation to many different fields of work. The principles of action learning can achieve improvement and transformation in a wide range of applications and disciplines, including professional training and educational contexts. This book is a comprehensive guide to action learning which maintains an accessible, practical focus throughout. It is packed with useful resources, including case studies and ideas for workshop sessions. Key topics covered include: * action learning in professional and educational settings * setting up, facilitating and evaluating an action learning programme * the roles and skills required to practice successfully *nbsp;use of action learningnbsp;in relation to the individual, the group and the organization *nbsp;the role of reflection; and action learning theory. Newcomers to the area of action learning will find this an essential introduction which can be put to use straight away, while more experienced practitioners seeking a deeper understanding will value the thorough analysis of action learning theory.


This handbook is written for users of action learning. We include amongst users: experienced users as well as those embarking upon action learning for the first time; those with some experience who wish to deepen their understanding; and those who are becoming, or are, facilitators of action learning. The handbook may also be useful for those responsible for staff and management development in organizations considering using action learning as part of the repertoire of development.

The handbook endeavours to reflect the life of an action learning set (the term used for a group engaged in action learning). Thus Part I is mainly about the activities necessary to create, initiate and start sets. Part II is designed to enable a deeper understanding of action learning with recourse to theory. Part III underpins the earlier part of the handbook by conveying the skills for effective set work. Part IV investigates the value of action learning and aims to provide users with the means for reviewing the journey undertaken by set members, sets as a whole and the organizational benefits. The handbook structure endeavours to reflect the beginning of the process, the journey itself, and the end of the life of action learning sets.

Part I, Starting action learning, is particularly for those new to action learning as well as those who wish to revisit the range of approaches to the fundamentals and familiarize themselves with the types of action learning that can be created and in what contexts. Practitioners who are introducing action learning to colleagues can make use of Chapter 3, which offers a range of workshops depending upon the depth of introduction required. Chapter 4, Starting a set, is a key chapter designed to ensure a high degree of commitment to action learning from the initial set meeting. We include the second meeting in this chapter to ensure integration of set members who may have been unable to attend the crucial first meeting.

Part II, Understanding action learning, is the theoretical part of the handbook and may, for users less familiar with learning theory, be omitted until a point is reached when access to theory is felt appropriate. Significant is the idea of reflection, and reflective dialogue as an introduction to reflective learning. Our aim is make the theory accessible, and to enable the use of theory relating to reflective learning to be integrated into the work in action learning sets. While engaging in action learning, practice locks into theory,

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