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Action Learning is a tried and tested way of finding solutions to issues, concerns, opportunities or tasks in the workplace. These issues have no specific right answer, but provide us with opportunities to explore different courses of action, and to reflect on these actions to see what we have learned about the issue - about ourselves, the way we think, act and relate to others. You can use Action Learning in hundreds of situations - these are just a few:

  • To improve communication
  • To develop new systems and ways of working
  • To improve quality
  • To review procedures
  • Research and development
  • Achieve a competitive edge
  • To share best practice across sectors within organisations (e.g. different NHS Trusts or Local Councils)
  • To consider the liaison between voluntary workers and salaried
  • To consider work experience programmes
  • Scenario planning

The Action Learning Toolkit gives you a set of simple tools and guidelines to implement Action Learning in your organisation.


1. What is Action Learning?
Here, Action Learning is introduced and defined and tools and resources for facilitators and others are provided to explain Action Learning and to illustrate how it works

2. Why do we need Action Learning?
The general case for Action Learning is made why we need it, and why it is so appropriate to our times. Action Learning is set in the context of The Knowledge-based Society and The Learning Organisation and is illustrated with cases and examples of where Action Learning has been used effectively.

3. Will Action Learning work in my organisation?
The conditions for Action Learning are assessed, and help is given to decide whether it is right for your purposes and your organisational setting.

4. How do you get ready for Action Learning?
The importance of preparing the ground for Action Learning cannot be overstressed. We now define some of the building blocks and preparatory work to be taken before people start to meet and work through their issues and problems.

5. How do you get started?
Action Learning needs volunteers with the freedom to choose which tasks or problems they will tackle. These conditions are discussed, and the tools and resources are provided to run a taster session so that people can experience the idea before committing themselves.

6. What does an Action Learning programme look like?
Some principles of design and examples of programmes that have worked well in particular settings are introduced.

7. How does an Action Learning set work?
This introduces one of the prime ideas of Action Learning; the set, or small group of colleagues working to help each other to act and to learn from this experience of action. It describes how an Action Learning set works and provides tools and resources to form sets, to get them started, and to get the most out of them.

8. Do we need a facilitator?
Most sets will have a facilitator or set advisers. This unit lays out the pros and cons of this role and provides tools that can be used by anyone acting in this role, including set members.

9. What is learned in Action Learning?
Action Learning is a profound forum for self-development, where participants acquire new abilities and enhance their existing ones. This unit describes and illustrates the skills and abilities most likely to be learned in Action Learning and provides some tools to be used by set members in considering their development.

10. Action Learning for organising: teams, networks and communities
The collective ability to act and learn collaboratively in teams, networks and communities is key to the new organising. Some of the issues for collaborative Action Learning and organisation development in these collectives are reviewed and tools for further development are provided.

11. Evaluating Action Learning
Evaluation is part of the life of all Action Learning sets in the form of regular reviewing and can also be a summative process seeking the views of all interested parties.

12. Sources and references: where can I get more information and advice?
Details are given of two UK organisations that have extensive links with other networks around the world. An annotated selection of books by Reg Revans and other writers is included for detailed reference.

205 pages, with 103 OK to copy pages

Organizational Development
Knowledge Management
Featured Talent
Mike Pedler
205 pages
Product Type
Activity Pack/Toolkit
Course ID

53 Tools • 103 'OK to copy' pages


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