Action Learning Sets

Action Learning is an approach to solving real problems that involves taking action and reflecting upon the results.  The learning helps improve the problem-solving process as well as the solutions the team develops.  Put simply, it is about getting things done.

Because Action Learning has has been demonstrated to be very effective in developing individual leadership and team problem solving skills (Leonard and Marquardt, 2010), it was been used extensively in corporate and organisational leadership development programs.

Because complex problems require many skills, individual team members can develop a customised learning agenda for themselves. This strategy is quite different from the “one size fits all” curriculum that is characteristic of many training and development programs.

If you would like to initiate Action Learning Sets in your business/organisation, please contact me.


What is an Action Learning Set?

An Action Learning Set includes:

  1. a real problem that is important, critical, and usually complex; brought to the Set by an ‘issue owner’
  2. a diverse problem-solving team or “action learning set”
  3. a process that promotes curiosity, inquiry, reflection and self determination
  4. a requirement that, through talking, can be converted into action and, ultimately, a solution
  5. a commitment to learning

A facilitator can be helpful when starting up Action Learning Sets; to guide the group through the process, to promote learning and ultimately to encourage the team to be self managing.

    1. Action Learning Set - A web of support (UEA Estate, Norwich)Action Learning Set – A web of support (Photo: Andrea Rippon)


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