Category Archives: Blog

British Red Cross – reflections on a virtual action learning training programme

Two-RC-volsIf organisations are to adapt and thrive in changing conditions, they need to provide high quality, relevant development opportunities whilst keeping careful control over budgets.  At the same time, globalisation and new digital technologies are making virtual team-working increasingly common and virtual teams are relied upon to solve organisational problems.  If we can provide effective means of working and training virtually, we can cut venue costs, travel and accommodation costs, and reduce environmental impact. (more…)

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Learning from action learning in the virtual world

stock-photo-763312-thoughtful blogAs action learning expands across the globe we are increasingly being asked to deliver action learning virtually.  Working with global companies, as well as organisations keen to reduce their carbon footprint and lower travel costs, virtual action learning offers an attractive option.

Participant’s first reactions can be sceptical, recalling telephone conference behaviours, thinking of the technical challenge as well as finding it difficult to imagine forging a real connection with people virtually. (more…)

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Trusting the action learning process

John Heywood wordpressThere are times when even the most carefully crafted programme doesn’t go entirely to plan. Such was the case during a three day action learning facilitator training programme recently conducted in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  The aim of the programme was to give all participants experience of facilitating action learning sets and to practice and develop all the skills generally associated with action learning(more…)

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International cultural programme trials action learning

exhibition-362163_640Bringing together eight partner organisations from Spain, Italy, Poland, Denmark, Belgium and the UK a new international programme called ADESTE aims to research, develop and define models of audience development in cultural organisations around the world.  Ruth Cook, ALA Managing Director and I have been working with participants on the pilot training programme since April – initially training them as action learning facilitators and now providing virtual support and accreditation. (more…)

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Growing action learning at the NSPCC

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????ALA is currently undertaking an exciting piece of work with a major children’s welfare charity, training their Consultant Social Workers (CSWs) – whose remit is to ensure quality of practice across the organisation – as action learning facilitators.  The CSWs then set up and run action learning sets for social work practitioners to tackle real practical challenges in their professional lives.  The aim is to build staff confidence, embed reflective practice and drive improvement on a number of themes including safeguarding. (more…)

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Too many people for an action learning set? Try using a fishbowl technique

fishbowlI run a development programme for aspiring leaders, with modules such as leadership challenges, collaborative working, performance coaching and strategic thinking.  Each module lasts two days, with the first day and a half focusing on workshop issues, inputs, exercises, diagnostic work and discussion. The afternoon of day two is always given over to action learning – providing an opportunity to explore issues emerging from each workshop. (more…)

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Commissioning in health and social care: Action learning as a process to support leaders dealing with complexity and change

No one can deny that the NHS is operating in a world which is changing at a scale and pace we have never seen. We are serving an increasingly older population with complex and enduring healthcare needs.  We are working in challenging financial circumstances, and yet our patients, quite rightly, have high expectations of the NHS and the quality of our servicesJan Sobieraj, Managing Director, NHS Leadership Academy

The focus of this article is to show how action learning can provide a powerful process to support NHS commissioners as they grapple with complexity, change and difficult choices on a daily basis. (more…)

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Action learning rises to the challenges of commissioning services for people with learning disability

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to run a pilot action learning set for those both commissioning and providing services for people with learning disability in the London Borough of Newham.  Action learning sets are classically comprised of peers so this membership created a real stretch/tension.  Providers who are in direct competition with each other would not normally work together in the same set.  So for me the challenge was how to create trust and endeavour to find creative solutions which would have a positive impact for vulnerable service users.   (more…)

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Action learning helps managers of UN Agencies face daily challenges

ALA251A OdgersI recently facilitated an action learning set for managers of United Nations agencies based in Geneva – these agencies included the World Trade Organization, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Telecommunications Union and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants.  All the set members were UN employees delivering the work flowing from decisions made by UN delegates of member nations. (more…)

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Reflections on action learning through haiku from guest blogger Katherine Waumsley

This blog is based on extracts from a reflective learning log by Katherine Waumsley which she recently submitted for accreditation with the Institute of Leadership & Management after she trained as an action learning facilitator training with ALA.  Katherine chose to use haiku – a Japanese poetry form -to illustrate her learning and has kindly agreed to let us share her fascinating log.  

Part 1: Introduction

In order to reflect and present what I have learned through the action learning facilitator training, I have decided to use the form of haiku. Haiku is a well known Japanese poetry form, which generally uses only seventeen syllables, often in a 5 – 7- 5 arrangement.  I suspect this is a vast oversimplification of the form, but what I like about haiku is the way they can perfectly crystallise a moment in time. Traditionally, haiku often include a seasonal reference, but here, I just try to point to a specific clear idea, moment or learning.  One thing I love about haiku, is the way the limited syllables largely prevents the writer embellishing or pontificating too much. There is an honest clarity about this sort of creative writing which I also value in facilitation practice, so in this sense, it seemed to me to be an appropriate form to use in the reflective journal. (more…)

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