Action Learning and its Applications


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The ability to think things through and de-brief experiences at non-trivial personal and contextual levels is increasingly recognized as essential to effective learning and performance.

Action learning is a well-proven individual, collective and organizational development philosophy that provides a sound setting for such reflective inquiry. In this relationship, L represents learning attained through engagement in action; P represents learning gained from accepted authorities; and Q represents learning initiated as people question their own direct experience. Revans believed that far too much emphasis was placed on P and far too little on Q; the process of action learning is intended to redress this imbalance.

A very wide variety of organizations now utilize action learning, and it gains ever widening application throughout the world. Action learning appears in numerous variants, much like the automobile is available in all manner of makes and styles whilst still being recognizable as an automobile.

Action learning

Action learning programs are typically based on the following tenets:. It is well known that experience itself is a very slippery teacher; most of the time we have experiences from which we never learn. Action learning seeks to throw a net around slippery experiences, and capture them as learning, i. As interest in action learning continues to grow among practitioners, theorists and researchers, in both the academic and organizational fields, a significant number of articles are published addressing its various facets.

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This review proposes to provide some organization and understanding of these articles to facilitate access and appreciation. Both reviews included books as well as journal articles. This current review covers the period — and is limited to publicly available journal articles. In preparing this review, we have attempted to be as inclusive as possible, gathering articles from and through a number of sources. We have included articles that deal specifically with action learning highlighted as a keyword or used in the text as well as some related articles focusing on action technologies.

Articles included are listed in the Bibliography section. The Bibliography is intended to be comprehensive; any relevant articles not included were an oversight and not intended as a critique of their usefulness. These categories were initially determined by an overall examination of the articles and were refined to their final format based on more extensive reading. We believe that the resulting pattern is instructive, as it provides the reader with an overall view of the literature showing areas of emphasis, and forms the basis for the discussion in the next section.

Part 2 of this literature review will provide signposts into the action learning articles via short summaries of articles that we feel represent the salient features of each category. Our hope is that this approach will serve the dual purpose of indicating sources of information P and further avenues for research Q. In the category of Collections, three special issues journals were devoted to action learning articles. Two Bibliography, ; were general in nature and the third Bibliography, dealt with educational themes. Articles of particular interest have been examined in Part 2 of this review.

This report was also of a general nature but grounded in research, and has been considered in Part 2. One wonders what there is left to say. Based on his later comments Revans, R.

There are also a substantial number of articles dealing with learning, adaptation and reflection. Since there are only three articles dealing with the once very thorny issue of how much programmed knowledge P action learning sets should accept, and no articles addressing puzzles versus problems, these topics seem to have been settled to the satisfaction of most practitioners. There were only a few articles dealing with facilitation and coaching, which is surprising given the number of programs that use coaches that are described in articles in the Action Learning Practice category.

Although only a trickle at this point, articles dealing with technology-assisted action learning seem destined to grow, given the current interest in e-learning.

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No articles were found covering all the subcategories in a single article. By far the most active publication category is Acton Learning Practice. Case reviews and research related pieces top the category, with preparation, design and implementation well covered. It is particularly gratifying to see that evaluation is covered in a very significant number of articles.

In this category it is possible to find quite a few articles that cover all five subcategories. The category covering Action Learning Focus is by its nature populated by topics that are not typically inter-related, although there are clearly some overlaps. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the number of articles that address education and androgogy.

Indeed, many now see a real compatibility between the two. The reluctance of organizations to devote special attention to high achievers is likely the reason why there are so few articles dealing with this subject. However, in a world where leadership is in very short supply, the small number of articles dealing explicitly with its development is a mystery.

The OD category contains articles dealing with change, planning and culture, so it is to be expected that this category would be well populated. Because of its relevance to organizational learning, action learning has been reasonably well featured in articles on the learning organization, but it has been seemingly of only marginal interest to knowledge management practitioners. The use of action learning to develop competencies is featured in a few articles. Its application to team and unionized contexts is slight, which is also puzzling since many of the fundamentals of action learning—i.

There is also only little interest shown in its applications in open space and research conferences and in the quality arena. A disappointment is the number of articles in the Communities of Practice category; since in our experience as consultants this is a growing and important area. Schema for Categorizing Action Learning Articles. Special Issues.

Action Learning and its Applications

Proceedings, Reports. Action Learning Fundamentals:. Definition, Description. Process Variant. Set Advisor, Learning Coach. Problem Vs. Learning, Adaptation, Reflection. On-Line, Technology Assisted, Distance.

Action Learning and its Applications - R Dilworth, Y Boshyk - Häftad () | Bokus

Action Learning Practice:. Case, Review, Research.

Action Learning Focus:. Education, Androgogy. Hi-Potential Development. Knowledge Management. Learning Organization. Open Space, Research Conference. He is editor of Business Driven Action Learning: Global Best Practices , and Action Learning Worldwide: Experiences of Leadership and Organizational Development , and author of articles on geopolitics, the learning organization and global trends. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Publishing With Us. Book Authors Journal Authors.

Free Preview. Buy eBook. Buy Hardcover. Buy Softcover. In June, Dilworth was posthumously awarded a Professional Achievement award for his outstanding contributions to action learning.

He is also Chairman of The Global Executive Learning Network, a worldwide association of professionals involved in assisting multinationals and others in the design and implementation of executive education. He is editor of Business Driven Action Learning: Global Best Practices , and Action Learning Worldwide: Experiences of Leadership and Organizational Development , and author of articles on geopolitics, the learning organization and global trends.

This second volume of two discusses the employment of action learning in different contexts, including healthcare, education, government, military and the business world. Use of action learning in delivery of Future Search Conferences is addressed, as well as action learning in community and civil society and the future of action learning.

Action Learning and its Applications Action Learning and its Applications
Action Learning and its Applications Action Learning and its Applications
Action Learning and its Applications Action Learning and its Applications
Action Learning and its Applications Action Learning and its Applications
Action Learning and its Applications Action Learning and its Applications
Action Learning and its Applications Action Learning and its Applications
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