Action learning in practice

2006_Action learning in practice-how do participants learn?

How do participants learn?

De Haan, E., & De Ridder, I.
Consulting Psychology Journal, 58, 4, 216-231, 2006

Action learning and peer consultation are ways of learning with fellow professionals that are gaining in popularity. In small groups the professionals submit issues from their work for systematic discussion with their colleagues.

This study examines whether the promise of action learning is indeed realized:

  • Do the participating professionals actually learn during these sessions?
  • If so, what type of learning do professionals report?
  • Does this type of learning affect the way in which professionals work?

The study involved a written questionnaire containing 31 closed questions and answered by 126 participants in action-learning groups.

In response to the question “How do participants learn?” we have noticed a picture emerging of a learning group that learns more during than after the action-learning sessions, and learns primarily by exploring issues in depth and receiving personal feedback. Divergent or reflective learning seems to reign.

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