HFL has been designing and delivering action learning in all its various forms (including business simulations and complex multi-stage role plays) for many years. Over this time built up our Seven Most Important Rules for Successful Action Learning Projects.
These rules assist our consulting team and our clients from making any critical mistakes which often hamper the desired outcomes of action learning. To download our free PDF explaining these rules in depth, click here to download.
What is action learning?
Action learning is a highly recommended addition to all HFL leadership program designs. Action learning is where participants on a program are required to put directly into practice skills that they have learned, either in a facilitated workshop style session, or as a distinct project set outside workshop time. Participants are given real tasks to perform, clear mandates and deadlines, and are required to formally report back on (a) project outcomes and (b) learning outcomes.
Action learning provides an opportunity for practical skills application, increasing business knowledge and teamwork skills. It helps participants embed new behaviours, skills and knowledge; and it also allows participants to practise activities that might not normally be part of their existing role. The latter is particularly useful when the leadership program is aiming to develop readiness for promotion. As in all learning, by actually doing the activity learning is enhanced, knowledge gaps or misunderstandings identified, and even making mistakes solidifies learning and acts as a catalyst for further practice and mastery.
Designing effective action learning is not easy; indeed, planning, design and execution is at the very least as complex as designing a full workshop, and is often more so. Key insight: Don’t make the mistake of thinking action learning projects can be quickly added into a program.
What do participants say about action learning projects?
Research conducted by HFL among participants in action learning projects in 2012 found that:
• 75% of participants find action learning projects challenging and engaging, enjoying the chance to work with other people, and increasing their leadership and communication skills, self management, creative thinking and self awareness.
• On reflection 74% considered the time invested worthwhile and would recommend action learning projects to others, although they were slightly more reluctant to engage in another project in the short term.
• Ideally they would welcome an equal focus on learning and task, versus task over learning preference. A number of other personal learning results were also achieved by participants.
Want a free consultation?
HFL is more than happy to share our experiences with learning and development professionals, and hear your experiences. For a no obligation consultation in the Asia Pacific, call one of our offices.