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Video Action Learning is inspired by Action Learning, which is a dialogue-based approach to learning and teaching, partly based on David A. Kolb’s experimental learning cycle, partly based on the Action Learning Method developed by professor Reg Revans at Cambridge University.

Action Learning takes its starting point in David A. Kolb’s theories on learning –including his experimental learning cycle. Kolbs theory is that for learning to take place, one must go through four stages of a cycle: Concrete experience → reflection/observation → abstract conceptualisation → active experimentation. Transformative learning takes place when one has gone through all the stages of the cycle.

Action Learning was created by the professor Reg Revans. It is a learning process, where the participant explores their own actions and experiences in order to improve their performance. This is done in collaboration with others and in small groups – so called Action Learning Sets. He concluded that there is a difference between cleverness and wisdom, the latter which is express through insightful questions. He demonstrated that effective learning emerges from interaction with others. This is precisely why ‘Action Learning Sets’ are frequently used in various Action Learning processes.

Action Learning challenges more traditional learning methods, that focusses on demonstration skills and knowledge. The approach is to a greater extent focussed on generating new knowledge through concrete action, which leads to new and improved competences and performances. Thus, Action Learning shifts the focus from the instructor to the participant. Action Learning emphasises unformal learning, and how learning purposely can be increased by letting it take place within a mutual, familiar and structured framework. This allows for the individual to develop in a direction and at a speed that is optimal for them. Unformal learning is personal, since the individual takes responsibility for their own development and learning.

For Action Learning processes to function optimally, the following basic elements need to be present in the learning environment: 

Problem/question – Each participant must have formulated a problem or a -question’ that is substantial enough to justify that it is in the interest of the organisation as a whole to try to solve the problem.

Sets – The concept of ‘sets’ is used in Action Learning theory, as a term for the group participants An Action Learning group typically consist of 20-40 people. Each set is in turn divided into sub-groups of 5-7 participants. The majority of learning takes place in the sub-groups.

Questioning – Socratic questioning is a central concept Action Learning. Using this technique, the sub-group participants support each other’s individual process of problem-solving and learning.

Learning – For learning to take place during an Action Learning process, there must be time for reflection. It is the responsibility of the teachers to make sure that continuous reflection – and documentation of these – occur within the groups. Therefore, each participant should keep a ‘learning log’, where they write down their reflections.

Teacher – The teacher has the role of a coach or a facilitator for the group. He or she support the participants in their work with Action Learning, through guiding and encouraging them to pose questions, to reflect, and to document their experiences.


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