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What is Action Learning? What is Action Learning?
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Action Learning

Action Learning Sets (ALSs) are viewed as an essential element in developing excellence in individuals and teams. Sets can be made up of individuals at different levels and from different organisations. It is a powerful process which can impact on the individual, team and the service.

What is Action Learning?

Participants bring to the Action Learning Sets a particular challenge or issue facing them in their work. The focus is then on supporting each individual in deepening their understanding and learning about that particular challenge. This creative model is action-based as, between each meeting, members work to implement the actions identified. In groups that are from the same discipline/specialty – the group is able to jointly progress their learning about issues and challenges within that specialty.

For those groups that are multi-professional or consist of individuals from different organisations, the learning from individual issues is transferable.  Another benefit is the way that the set reflects and learns how to work together and it is these skills that individuals can take back to their organisation and apply to their own team development.

Benefits of Action Learning

Sue Nash Consulting believes that Action Learning demonstrates the value of experiential learning and reflective practice. The approach provides sustained development as it:

  • Allows the participants to engage on real work issues

‘We have been able to discuss our own personal, challenges or problems back at our own organisations...'

  • Addresses directly the problems and issues of organisations
  • Goes beyond simulation or case study work in academic learning

‘A fundamental part of any leadership programme – opportunity to discuss and identify what you have done in practice...'

  • Demands that intellectual and practical knowledge and skills be combined to solve problems
  • Is Transformational - as a critical mass of teams taking accountability and responsibility for their issues and solutions by working in this self-empowered way start to affect the organisation’s culture positively as well as impacting on the individual’s behaviour
  • Balances support and challenge

‘...we think it is very valuable...It is very safe...'

Click to hear more... Click to hear more...





What you say about Action Learning – Reflection as a way forward
SB Lecturer/practitioner

‘I have valued the chance to reflect on my leadership practice with colleagues in a neutral setting. It has been essential to have protected time, since this has enabled me to focus on the issues, rather than the issues having to compete with a host of other pressures.  
ALS has given me a variety of insights, both through exploring the issues I brought, and through exploring the issues brought by others. I have been impressed by the power of open questioning in the group, as a means to explore things that challenge us in our work and I was particularly enlightened exploring the assumed motives for the actions we take, which when unpacked are not what they seem.
It has been valuable working in a group that is both homogeneous in the sense that our work, its pressures and its culture, are similar and yet heterogeneous in that we are naturally different personalities, with different experience and approaches to challenges. I think I had few preconceptions about the ALS work before I started the programme. I did think however that I would have preferred to work with colleagues with whom I don’t come into contact frequently in my work. In the event this has been one of its strengths for me and I would like to think that we can set up something similar in the future’.

What you say about Action Learning – Beneficial in times of Change
BM, Service Manager

‘Action Learning Sets (ALS) occurred during times of great change and upheaval within the service. I would arrive often feeling overwhelmed by the issues connected with trying to effect change. ALS offered the opportunity to ‘empty the bucket’, but also to be challenged on my thinking and approaches. As a result I have been able to keep issues in perspective and to deal more effectively with the conflict that can accompany managing change.’

What you say about Action Learning – Problem Solving

‘Action learning has given me the tools and skills to challenge and resolve historical, entrenched issues within my role and workplace. I am able to better consider and implement means of resolution and remain focused on an issue, whilst being more open to exploring routes and ideas for resolution.’



Would you like to establish Action Learning in your organisation or be part of an ALS external to your organisation?

Please contact us for more information:

07742 532970