Action learning – A new way of thinking & problem-solving
Learning and development programs often focus on organisation wide issues or a broad “knowledge and skill “gap that needs to be bridged. Often the program design is about “education” rather than “experience”; it is about giving “information” rather than “effective engagement”, and it revolves around “resources”, rather than “results”.
Organisations, today are looking for relevant learning opportunities and experiences that equips teams and leaders with skills to solve the real challenges that confront them. It is also critical for them that as they equip team members for organisational challenges, the learning process be engaging for individual learners and helps them to focus on their own development so that they have personal stake in the process. In addition, it is desirable that the learning design helps to promote skills that are absolutely essential at workplace today.
Action Learning is a process that involves a small group of people working on real problems, taking action, and learning as individuals, as a team, and as an organization.
It is process that involves questioning, reflecting and interacting in teams that help organizations develop creative, flexible and successful strategies to pressing problems. It nurtures leaders with the simple rule that encourages all the participants to think critically, reflect, and work collaboratively.
There are six components of Action Learning.
- Problem: Action Learning is set in the real world. It works with an ongoing issue that may be for an individual, team or an organisation. It begins when individuals or teams identify a problem that is urgent, significant, and the responsibility of the team/group to resolve. Examples include personal situations such as support strategies for managing a career - crisis or a project that has reached a roadblock.
- Group: The Action Learning team is ideally composed of 4-8 people, ideally with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
- Question & Reflection: Action Learning tackles problems through a process of asking questions to clarify the exact nature of the problem. The action is taken only after reflecting and identifying possible solutions.
- Action: Action Learning requires that the group be able to take action on the problem it is working on. The group comes up with possible ideas and actions for solving the issue. Action is a non- negotiable outcome of action learning.
- Learning: Action Learning provides the opportunity for deliberate learning and which improves the quality of solutions. It offers long-term strategic value to the organization in terms of the learning individuals, teams and leaders.
- Coach: The Action Learning coach helps the team members reflect on both what they are learning and how they are solving problems.
Action Learning can be used by individuals, teams and organisations . You can look to run an action learning session in any situation – personal or workplace. You can even train to be a certified action learning coach. To find more about Action Learning and Certification for Action Learning Coach connect with our relationships team.