Action Learning Sets in Business

 

“There is no learning without action and no action without learning” (Revans 1983)


“So, what exactly are action learning sets?” I hear you ask.

Action learning sets (ALS) are  an educational development tool designed to facilitate continued development among professionals.

ALS promote a ‘learning culture,’ hence the growing uptake of this technique within all kinds of businesses.

The basic components of an ALS are as follows:

  • They are small groups of 4-7 people who meet regularly in order to solve real-time work-related problems.

  • Group members can be colleagues who work closely or colleagues from different departments or collaborated organisations.

  • The primary objective is to take a questioning approach to support each other in problem-solving and shared decision-making.

  • They comprise different roles that can be adopted at any one time (Box 1).

Box 1: Roles within an ALS

The facilitator – one member guides the group towards problem resolution

The presenter (of the problem) – one member of the group raises a real-time work-related problem

The questioner – other members take turns questioning the presenter in order to identify a potential solution or action plan

The listener – all members demonstrate active listening to one another

The reflector – the reflector observes and listens to the group, thoroughly considering everything before offering ideas

People are generally known to be  either a good listener or a good talker.  With ALS, you can be both.  

Skills not usually utilised are honed in a supportive environment built on team spirit.

By supporting and challenging one another to think, act, and question, all group members are given a sense of personal responsibility and empowerment.  

Try using action learning sets in your business.  Perhaps you have already use them and would like to share your experience?

Resources:

For information on forming an action learning set:

http://www.natpact.info/cms/274.php

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