Action learning is a method where people learn from working on real problems under the supervision of a coach. An action learning session is a bit similar to a typical management meeting: team members (project teams, management teams, executive committees) sit together and work on solving a problem. However, there are important differences. The action learning coach controls the interaction forms of the participants, and uses a wide range of facilitation methods to make the session more effective. From this aspect, action learning is a form of workshop facilitation.
Action learning in action
But action learning goes deeper than a typical workshop facilitation. Most importantly, participants stop from time-to-time and reflect on what has happened in their interactions, in the group dynamics, and in the implementation. There is time allocated and specific methods for facilitating such reflection. This way, the coach has a crucial role in raising the awareness of participants, helping them discover things or see them from a new and more empowering perspective.
The method and the term of "action learning" was introduced by Professor Reg Revans in England in the 1940s, and it gradually became more mature and popular. From the early beginnings, action learning facilitated not only individual learning, but also team maturity and organizational change, and therefore it became an important part of organizational learning strategies in major corporations.
HRO Coach Mr Steve Mellau is a certified coach of the WIAL (World Association of Action Learning - Washington DC), he is one of the very few people qualified to deliver action learning properly in China.
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