Most MBA’s use traditional teaching methods. The business school draws up the curriculum to which all students have to adhere. The emphasis is on theory, models and quantities methods. The aim is that every student/ manager familiarises with these and draws benefit from these methods in everyday and future management practices. The main focus is on knowledge retention, rather than developing the ability of applying knowledge.
Action Learning MBA of Business School Netherlands has, within the set boundaries of the NVAO, changed this approach drastically. Not only theory forms part of the outcome, BSN includes real life business problems and challenges.
Action Learning Projects
Problems solved by each set are relevant to each member’s organisation. It is all about taking managerial responsibility for action. The results will be useful to the organisation. If the interests of the organisation are taken care of, the interests of the student automatically follow.
Projects are meaningful if they involve the risk of failure. Both students and organisations must be willing to take risks. Fast learning is a product of making mistakes. Tolerance of mistakes by the student’s organisation is required. The student should be empowered to carry out the project independently.
Student & Organisation
Both student and organisation bear responsibility for carrying out the project. The organisation must be willing to protect their participating manager from anything that could frustrate the outcome of the project. This frees the manager of fear of retribution should an error be made. Trial and error is necessary to the success of a project.
"The changing demands of the corporate world cry out for the Action Learning didactical philosophy. This means not being content with just knowledge and expertise, but doing things, trying ideas and developing initiatives… this is what makes people competent managers.” (Revans, 1971)
Action Learning in Groups
Action Learning is: Learning together. Small sets or groups of comrades in adversity get to know each other and within the social structure of the group learning takes place. Tutors no longer lecture but participate in tackling new problems, facilitating the reorganisation of thought and searching for the right questions. The set is the personal network of each member.
In the Action Learning MBA a learning situation is created in which managers explore and investigate together, with an emphasis on asking the right questions, with the lecturers drawing on their experience to facilitate this process. This management education philosophy requires much effort from both student and lecturer, way beyond the traditional imparting and absorbing of knowledge.“Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime” - Lao Tzu (the original Action Learner)
World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL)
Business School Netherlands is the first European institution to become affiliates of the World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL). With such an outstanding organisation backing our activities, these steps signal our intent to excel even further as a rigorous practitioner of this powerful learning methodology. This strengthening of our internal Action Learning practices, only serves to improve our efforts to enable managers in their development towards success in their respective organisations.
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