Action Leaning Used In Organisation Education Essay

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Action learning is a small group of people work collaboratively on real or live issues and reflect on their experience and learning in the workplace. Put simply, action learning is learning by doing and similar to problem-based learning. A more succinct definition from Pedler (2008, p. 3) defined that action learning is a method for individual and organisational development. Working in small groups, people tackle important organisational issues or problems and learn from their attempts to change things. Action learning has three main components-people, who accept the responsibility for taking action on a particular issue; problems, or the tasks that people set themselves; and a set of six or so colleagues who support and challenge each other to make progress on problems. (Pedler, 1991, cited by J. Marsick & O'Neil, 1999, p. 160)

Action learning was developed by Reg Revans. Revans' epithet 'there can be no learning without action and no action without learning'. He described action learning with equation L = P + Q where L is the learning that comes out of a combination of P (programmed or prior knowledge) and Q (insightful questioning).

1.2 Action leaning used in organisation.

Since action learning was introduced by Reg Revans in Wales and England during 1940s, action learning was deemed as a management and organizational development tool.

Action learning used across different organizations where managers with specific problems came together to benefit from collective knowledge and exploratory questioning. Take an example, a team of people are perhaps unaware of the knowledge they each have developed separately. By sharing their knowledge the team was developing the way they worked. As this was a newly restructured team, one manager believed the set enabled an effective team to develop more quickly than it would have done without the catalyst of the set. More frequently, action learning is used within a single organization where a team or group of people come together to solve a shared problem or tackle an organizational issue as action learning creates the conditions in which managers learn from their own experience in a real-life problem, helped by and helping others facing similar situations. In general, action learning takes place in action learning sets that are facilitated by someone external to the problem or situation.

Nowadays, action learning is commonly used world-wide by organizational for development of leaders especially Microsoft. Microsoft has utilized action learning programmes in Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa. Microsoft deemed that action learning is the key tool for their leaders to an emerging market where income generated in difference ways, chaotic conditions of trading, and the changeable trend of future. From action learning program, leaders from Microsoft have opportunities to work on real business challenges and exposing them how political leaders and political agenda effect in an emerging market. Other than using action learning techniques to develop leader, Microsoft also use action learning in a face-to-face session with the partners and Partner Account Managers (PAMs) to work on the specific business challenges. In addition, Microsoft use action learning process on facilitate their leaders to reflect profoundly on leaders' leadership behaviours and the lessons learned through the program and translate these into the real issues that they faced.

On the other hand, Nokia utilized action learning since early 1990s. In Nokia, action learning program invested in marketing and sales, research and development and the innovation and new business development department. Besides that, action learning also focuses on the reflection of individual and organizational learning. Action learning helped Nokia to increase Nokia's agility and capacity to for change in a fast moving and highly competitive world and to improve its capacity to learn fast and act on the challenges that faces (Ropponen, 2008, p.165).

2.1 What are "wicked problems" ?

2.2 Action learning be used to address some of these so-called "wicked problems" in organisation.

3.1 What is critical action learning ?

3.2 The difference of critical action learning and classical action learning.

4. Action learning contribute to HRD strategy.

Connecting action learning to HRD, action learning is actually bound up with HRD, especially principle of action learning and action learning's equation. When integrate action learning's principle and action learning's equation in to organisation development programs, employees will give an opportunity and unique experience to continue learning at workplace. This workplace learning method is through on-the-job or personal coaching.

Recall to action leaning's equation, learning (L) equal to programmed knowledge (P) plus questioning insight (Q), so that L=P+Q. Firstly, according to the principle of action learning and the P in action learning equation which concerns existing knowledge, employees from an organisation given an opportunity to share their knowledge in a group of discussion. This is an efficient incentive for employees to exchange their viewpoints, opinions and ideas through collaboration work. Besides that, action learning helps employees or participants to improve their potential for solving complex problems or issues and generating better solution.

On the other hand, the Q part that implied in action learning's equation is kind of critical reflection. Being in a group, employees will recognize individual difference and identify their strength and weakness; even it can also reveal underlying patterns of behaviour. This can helps to identify individual new needs or even organisation as well as ideas for change. Besides that, Q part of action learning's equation include examine arguments in a collaboration work and at the same time it also provide challenge and support through probing questions. Therefore, employees allow exploring their perspective towards the difficult issues or mistakes that they face and learn from experiences. This is a potential to test the validity of their assumption so that they will be aware of what are they doing and how.

In addition, Revans' (1982), cited by K. Yeo & Gold (2011, p.522) found System Alpha, Beta and Gamma in action learning have pertinent relevance to HRD as these system components relate to the way employees think, feel, and act. System alpha is focus on the investigation of the problem, based on the managerial value system, the external environment and available internal resources (Pedler, 2011, p.361). The analysis of the external environment and organisation's internal situation is necessary to expose what opportunities and challenges may exist. Besides that, this analysis helps employees to align their personal objective and reveal organisation's goals. In adding the managerial value system, system alpha is not just an intellectual analysis, it also defined the culture of organisation. Further, this analysis also considers the different groups think ought to happen, and what they need to do about this.

System beta focuses on its resolutions, what decisions and cycles of negotiation are required to implement the decision through trial and error (Pedler, 2011, p.361). In this system, employees learn to solve organisational problem by action, reflection and learning and evaluate the process on problem solving. This means learning from experiences as the problem solves as a result of learning from sequential trials as options and opportunities for action emerge and effected.

System gamma focuses on the learning as experienced uniquely by each participant and involves self-awareness and questioning (Pedler, 2011, p.361). This system enables individual's critical reflection and defines the change process of organisation. Therefore, employees able to evolve the actions directed towards solving the problem. System gamma has the ability to innovate the individual learner and the organization involved.

Based on these perspectives, several interpretations between action and learning can be realized for HRD, as encapsulated in action of learning, action in learning, action for learning, action through learning, and action from learning( K. Yeo & Gold, 2011, p.522)

Compare how action learning used or work in two organisations

1 book:

M, Pedler. (2011). Action learning in practice. (4th ed.) Farnham : Gower 

Roland K. Yeo & Jeff Gold (2011): The inseparability of action and learning: unravelling Revans' action learning theory for Human Resource Development (HRD), Human Resource Development International, 14:5, 511-526

Robert L. Dilworth, (1996) "Action learning: bridging academic and workplace domains", Employee Counselling Today, Vol. 8 Iss: 6, pp.45 - 53

*Optimizing the Power of Action Learning : Solving Problems and Building Leaders in Real Time

Marquardt, Michael J. 

Pedler, Mike  (2008) Action Learning for Managers (2nd Edition)

Victoria J. Marsick & Judy O'Neil The Many Faces of Action Learning Management Learning June 1999 vol. 30 no. 2 159-176

Michael J. Marquardt, (2000) "Action learning and leadership", Learning Organization, The, Vol. 7 Iss: 5, pp.233 - 241

 Ivo De Loo, Bernard Verstegen, (2001) "New thoughts on action learning", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 25 Iss: 2/3/4, pp.229 - 234

Peter Miller, (2003) "Workplace learning by action learning: a practical example", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 15 Iss: 1, pp.14 - 23

Michael J. Marquardt, (2000) "Action learning and leadership", Learning Organization, The, Vol. 7 Iss: 5, pp.233 - 241

Monder Ram (2012): Critical action learning: extending its reach, Action Learning: Research and Practice, 9:3, 219-224