Schedule for today • First hour: Action Learning theory and Q&A • Break • Small group Action Learning sessions (two 40 minute presentations per group) • Feedback – key points and information about Sets starting soon
The man behind it: Prof RegRevans • 1945: Education plan for workers at the National Coal Board • Further development of Action Learning for the National Health Authority (which became the NHS) • Internationally recognised development method
Key features • Working on real problems • Actual implementation of solutions – not “just talking” about things • Learning by doing • Encourages an attitude of questioning and reflection
L = P + Q • L stands for Learning • P stands for Programmed Knowledge • Q stands for Questioning Insight
Function of the group • The small group provides challenge & support • You each tackle your own problem and implement your own solution • “The process integrates: • Research (into what is obscure) • Learning (about what is unknown) • Action (to resolve a problem)” – Reg Revans
Benefits to participants • Personal development • Peer support • Provides reflection time • Enables more effective handling of difficult situations • Skills development • Clearer understanding of how you learn
Volunteer Managers… inexperienced experienced part time isolated time starved resourceful middle manager multi-tasking absorbed in the day to day skilled misunderstood
Action Learning and our sector both: • Value the individual • Have a commitment to equality • Work in conditions of confusion and risk • Respond to change • Are flexible – new ways of doing things • Create networks and partnerships • Challenge and question With thanks to NACVS ALMs project 2004
What happens in a Set meeting? • Usually: • Five to six participants • A facilitator • Meet every five- to six-weeks • Time frame varies • Participants have equal ‘air time’
What is ‘air time’? • Presenter talks through an issue, problem or opportunity • Supporters ask open questions aiming to clarify, to offer insight and challenge • Presenter develops action points • Review: whole group comment on what they have learned from the session
The facilitator • Helps it all happen • Maintains timetable and ground rules • And as they become more experienced: • Models Action Learning skills • Assists your skills development • Enables the focus on learning
When you’re presenting think: • How can I describe my issue clearly? • What do I want from the group? Do I know what I want? • Am I holding back key information? • Do I feel OK to tell the group I need to stop and think?
When you’re supporting think: • How can I show empathy and concern? • Am I asking questions rather than offering solutions? • When should I challenge? • What can I learn from this?
When you’re reviewing think: • What have I learned? • How have my thoughts/feelings changed about my problem? • Have any of my behaviours changed? • What helps/hinders my learning?
Types of questions Inquiry: to help clarify the situation and the way forward e.g. what do you want to achieve? Challenging: to help the presenter achieve insight or a fresh perspective. e.g. what are the obstacles, and are they real? Catalytic: to trigger new ideas and thinking e.g. what’s the worse that could happen if you do xyz? Cathartic: to help release emotions e.g. how does xyz make you feel?
Ready, set… …let’s have a go!
Additional techniques • Once you feel more confident facilitating Action Learning, you can introduce new techniques into the set, such as: • Brainstorming and reverse brainstorm • Sitting out • Role, or ‘real’ play • Gestalt switch • Synectics • Dialogue pairs
Giving and receiving feedback • Clear • Owned • Regular • Balanced • Specific
Resources • www.glv.org.uk • www.expertsinvolunteering.org.uk • www.actionlearningsets.com • www.ifal.org.uk
Getting in touch Jennifer Anderson: Jennifer@glv.org.uk May Macnair: May@glv.org.uk GLV general contact details: email@example.com, 020 7953 7317