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Action Learning ‘Care to Lead’ Aspiring HR Director Programme Paul Schanzer & Ian Govier (Facilitators)

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Presentation on theme: "Action Learning ‘Care to Lead’ Aspiring HR Director Programme Paul Schanzer & Ian Govier (Facilitators)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Action Learning ‘Care to Lead’ Aspiring HR Director Programme Paul Schanzer & Ian Govier (Facilitators)

2 An elephant is like a fan An elephant is like a wall An elephant is like a spear An elephant is like a tree An elephant is like a snake An elephant is like a rope

3 What is Action Learning? A way of learning from our actions, and what happens to us, and around us, by taking time to question, understand and reflect, to gain insight, and consider how to act in the future Weinstein 1999

4 A continuous process of learning and reflection supported by colleagues, with the intention of getting things done McGill and Beatty 1998

5 Action learning is an approach to the development of people in organisations which takes the task as the vehicle for learning. It is based on the premise that there is no learning without action and no sober and deliberate action without learning Pedler 1997

6 Thus it is that action learning does not pretend to supply the subject with much fresh cognitive knowledge; it is sufficient to help them use more effectively what they already have, and to reinterpret the experiences of yesterday in the light of tomorrow. Reg Revans

7 Principles of Action Learning Adults learn best when they are actually involved in their own learning about a current life situationAdults learn best when they are actually involved in their own learning about a current life situation Adults who voluntarily choose a learning experience usually learn more readilyAdults who voluntarily choose a learning experience usually learn more readily Emblen and Gray 1981

8 Six main elements of Action Learning The individual -The individual - who voluntarily joins the group The set -The set - a group of people who meet regularly The issue or task -The issue or task - each person brings what they want to work on The processes -The processes - the challenge, support The facilitator -The facilitator - who helps the group as it works and learns The outcome -The outcome - action and learning Revans 1991

9 What happens during an Action Learning Set ?

10 Principles of Action Learning Warmth and Light (support and challenge)Warmth and Light (support and challenge) ListeningListening ReflectionReflection QuestioningQuestioning Feedback (giving and receiving)Feedback (giving and receiving)

11 To look is one thing, to see what you look at is another. To understand what you see is another. To learn from what you understand is something else. But to act on what you learn is all that matters.

12 Learning L>C Learning must be equal to or greater than the rate of change Revans 1983

13 Learning happens at three levels: About the issue being tackled About the process of learning itself About oneself

14 Action Learning allows individuals to: Learn from experienceLearn from experience Share that experience with othersShare that experience with others Have other colleagues challenge and supportHave other colleagues challenge and support Take that challenge and implement itTake that challenge and implement it Review with those colleagues the action taken and the lessons that are learnt.Review with those colleagues the action taken and the lessons that are learnt. Revans 1993

15 Action Learning Equation P+Q = L P - Programmed Knowledge - P - Programmed Knowledge - expert knowledge, knowledge in books, what we do because that’s the way it has always been done Q - Questioning - Q - Questioning - the aspect of previous experience is useful relevant or just what we don’t know L - Learning - L - Learning - the result of the combination of the two

16 L=(P+Q+A+R) = C > SQ L = Learning L = Learning P = Programmed Knowledge P = Programmed Knowledge Q = Questioning & Assessing A = Action A = Action R = Reflection R = Reflection C = Planned Change C = Planned Change SQ = Status Quo

17 Differences in approaches to learning Traditional Learning Historic case studies Individual focused Learning about others Study of other organisations Planning Input based Past orientated Low risk Passive Theories Action Learning Current real case studiesCurrent real case studies Group based learningGroup based learning Learning about self / othersLearning about self / others Study own organisationStudy own organisation Planning and doingPlanning and doing Output / result basedOutput / result based Present / future orientatedPresent / future orientated High riskHigh risk ActiveActive Practical applicationPractical application adapted from Margerison 1988

18 The Kolb Learning Cycle Stage 1: Having an experience Stage 3 : Concluding from the experience Stage 4: Planning the next steps Stage 2: Reviewing the experience Kolb 1984

19 Benefits of Action Learning Increased confidenceIncreased confidence Increased self awarenessIncreased self awareness Ability to approach situations from a broader and more political perspective than in the pastAbility to approach situations from a broader and more political perspective than in the past More proactive than reactive in problem solving and decision makingMore proactive than reactive in problem solving and decision making More reflective than emotional in tense situationsMore reflective than emotional in tense situations Better at listeningBetter at listening Move into new jobs more quickly and effectivelyMove into new jobs more quickly and effectively Achieve goals faster than expectedAchieve goals faster than expected Developing and stimulating others in the organisationDeveloping and stimulating others in the organisation

20 Things to avoid in an Action Learning Set: Imposing your values and opinions on othersImposing your values and opinions on others Giving adviceGiving advice Being judgmentalBeing judgmental Criticising or trivialising what the person is presentingCriticising or trivialising what the person is presenting

21 Facilitation Questions Can we stop for a moment and check how we are doing? How do you feel about what is going on? How helpful was that comment? Perhaps it would be more helpful to turn that comment into a question? What questions does that raise? Which question was most helpful and why? Why has everyone ignored … statement? Everyone seems a little tired - shall we take a break for a few moments? Perhaps we should check our ground rules? What are we trying to do here? How can we help…move on? How can we make this set more effective? What does that mean? Is that helpful?

22 It sounds as though you are feeling….. How does that make you feel? What do you think is really going on? What do you think would happen if….? Do you think that….? How would you know if…? What could you do? How can you….?

23 Some ‘Ground Rules’ for consideration ConfidentialityConfidentiality AttendanceAttendance SchedulingScheduling Air SpaceAir Space ListeningListening Non-interruptionNon-interruption EmpathyEmpathy Open questionsOpen questions RespectRespect Fun!Fun!

24 Action Learning A way of learning from our actions, and what happens to us, and around us, by taking time to question, understand and reflect, to gain insight, and consider how to act in the future Weinstein 1999

25 Final Thoughts Final Thoughts

26 If we always do what we’ve always done… …we’ll always get what we’ve always got!

27 What am I (are we) going to do differently after today?

28 …I’ll probably do nothing about it! If I do nothing about it in 24 hours…

29 and finally…

30 When people who are not used to speaking are heard by people who are not used to listening, then real change occurs

31 Thank You Diolch Paul Schanzer & Ian Govier (Facilitators) ‘Care to Lead’ Aspiring HR Director Programme

32 Website:


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