Action Learning and Action Research

What is Action Learning?

Action Learning (formula) = Programmed knowledge (P) + asking questions (Q) to understand what people see, hear and feel + Implementation (I) + Reflection (R) so as to learn from the consequences of your actions. Not just as an individual, but in small interactive groups. Action Learning = P + Q + I + R. 

The Action Learning formula has consistently proved it its success since as far back as 1950, when professionals discovered that the method was an immensely powerful tool to improve knowledge, behavior and performance. Business School Netherlands uses the Action Learning Formula to facilitate both managers and their teams in personal development and growth. The goal: to solve real, actual problems, while gaining knowledge and experience at the same time. Students tackle a real-life relevant project, challenge, opportunity or dilemma, the solution of which is of great importance for an individual, team or organisation.

To introduce first a short film by Professor Dr. Reg Revans:. Founder of Action Learning.

What is Action Research?

Researchers include Action Learning in a collection of research methods called: Action Research. Action Research is the process in which a practical problem is solved by means of scientific insights and methods. Action Research has proved to be one of the most beneficial scientific methods in any work environment.

Kurt Lewin, the founder of Action Research, stated that the method had to meet the following criteria:

  • Action research must focus on solving a real problem.
  • The problem must have the needs of the organisation as the core focus of the research.
  • The action research centres on the circumstances and environment in which the problem arises;
  • The action research must produce scientifically justifiable results;
  • These results must either fit in with an existing theory, or form the basis for a new theory.

Action Learning Publications

Action Learning is a proven method since 1950 – studies and in the workplace – to solve for people, teams and organizations real problems. About Action Learning is written very much, as well as on the Action Research research method. Below is a selection of articles, white papers and books on the subject.

‘More educated people would help move Ethiopia forward. However, they need, not just any MBA, but specifically an Action Learning MBA’
Wondwossen Worku

MBA Alumnus, Ethiopia

Research Methods for Managers by Professor dr. Phil Johnson, dr. John Gill and dr. Murray ClarkProfessor dr. Phil Johnson
dr. John Gill
dr. Murray Clark
Organization Theory - Challenges and Perspectives by Emeritus Professor dr. John McAuley, Professor dr. Joanne Duberly and Professor dr. Phil JohnsonEmeritus Professor dr. John McAuley
Professor dr. Joanne Duberly
Professor dr. Phil Johnson
Optimizing the Power of Action Learning by Professor dr. Michael Marquardt Professor dr. Michael Marquardt
Action Learning: How the World's Top Companies are Re-Creating Their Leaders and Themselves by David L. Dotlich PhD David L. Dotlich PhD
Leading Organizational Change using Action Learning by H. Skipton Leonard PhD and Arthur M. Freedman PhDH. Skipton Leonard PhD
Arthur M. Freedman PhD
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