WIAL Action Learning

Action Learning is a process that involves a small group working on real problems, taking actions, and learning as individuals, as a team, and as an organisation. It helps organisations develop creative, flexible and successful strategies to pressing problems.

Action Learning has emerged as a method of choice for global companies, government agencies, and non-profit groups that want to improve quality, cut cost, create new products and services, and change the culture of their organisations. From Boston to Brazil, from Finland to Tokyo, companies as diverse as MicrosoftSamsung, Dow, GE, Deutsche BankBoeing, Sodexo, NovartisNokia and many others use Action Learning to solve complex problems, develop leaders, build teams and expand corporate capability.

Reg Revans
Professor Reginald Revans is the originator of Action Learning. He invented and developed this method in the United Kingdom in the 1940s, working in the Coal Board. He encouraged managers to meet together in small groups, to share their experiences and ask each other questions about what they saw and heard. The approach increased productivity by over 30%.

Since first introduced by Reg Revans to the coal miners of England and Wales in the 1940s, Action Learning has emerged as a powerful problem-solving methodology that has the proven capacity to simultaneously build successful leaders, teams and organisations. Moreover, Action Learning is also considered as a dynamic process that assists organisations to challenge the status quo, and to develop creative, flexible and successful strategies. Action Learning positions inquiry at the core of organisational behaviour, develops critical thinking and creates mutual respect among employees at all levels.

The focus on inquiry speaks to Peter Senge's concern that organisations should move from institutional training to a learning environment. Action Learning solves dilemmas of all sizes, and is particularly effective with complex problems that may appear unsolvable. It elevates the norms, the collaboration, the creativity and the courage of groups that solve problems of great urgency to the organisations.

Action Learning solves problems and develops leaders simultaneously because its simple rules force participants to think critically and work collaboratively, and because the group's coach, the WIAL Action Learning Coach, assists group members to reflect, not on their problem-solving, but on the elevation of their group functioning and on examples of their leadership skills. Action Learn participants become effective leaders as they solve difficult problems.