Action Learning

Principles and Issues in Practice

Gifford J | HR Network Paper MP49 | Institute for Employment Studies | Apr 2005

This paper provides an introduction to action learning and reflects on recent advances made in its application. It focuses on practical variations of action learning and discusses in what ways they adhere to or challenge the original principles and established norms of action learning.

The paper gives the reader an overview of the original idea of action learning (as framed by Revans), and looks at two areas in which action learning has developed more recently. It examines the usefulness and limitations of the set facilitator.

In particular, we review some of the ways in which action learning sets have taken on board and developed Revans' notion that sets do not need externally provided facilitators.

The practice of inter-organisational action learning is discussed, in relation to action learning theory and the rationale for cross-organisational learning in the global economy.