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Action Learning Facilitation, European Summer School in Berlin by Rachel Gnagniko

September 24th, 2018


"People bring their own live current issues

and decide on their own action points and learning

which results in commitment, motivation"


"It is a collaborative process –

with value coming from hearing others talk through problems

and identifying options as well as exploring our own"


Extracts from “Action Learning in a Nutshell by the Action Learning Centre


From the 14th until the 17th September, 6 activists and social change leaders based in London, Rotherham and Liverpool, had been part of an introduction to the Action Learning Approach. Janie Wilson, the principal consultant of the Action Learning Centre, facilitated this 4 days practice- training which took place in the Berlin area and was organised by The Ubele Initiative and the German organisation Impuls.


A powerful and highly effective approach, a supportive group, an experienced facilitator


The pillars of this approach are equality of voices, listening to connect (not to judge), questioning (not advising), new thinking learning, live and current issues and collaborative approach.


This creative approach of problem-solving is a group process including 6 peers who are going to meet regularly to explore issues encountered by members. Action Learning is a very structured process based on the idea that an issue owner also owns the solution. The group is then there to support and facilitate the journey toward actions. This non-hierarchical group is a powerful way to connect with others in a safe and confidential space using only the questioning process to unlock an issue, strengthen the solution building and generate new thinking and learning.


This approach, designed in the 50' by RegRevans, allows the individual to take advantage of the creativity of the other member of the groupwhile keeping the entire decision and action power.


"In a nutshell Action Learning is real people resolving

and taking action on real problems in real time

and learning while doing so.

It requires a commitment to question,

to be honest, to acknowledge what you don’t know,

a willingness to collaborate and learn."


A shared human experience, a supportive and durable group building


The group consists of a presenter, set members or supporters and a facilitator. The presenter is the one who is going to share their issue and formulate it as a question. The facilitator will keep the time and assist the group in staying true to the critical principles of Action Learning. The group, through the questioning process, helps and support the presenter to find actions to undertake and learn from the issue.


As long as the problem is live and owned by a presenter, the members, helped by a facilitator, are able to offer different perspectives, share the commitment of the issue owner for the time of the sessionand support the process of action learning.


The confidentiality of the group further allows members to feel free to express their views, feelings and experiences adequately and contributes to providing a safe space to gain support and trigger new perspectives and learning from problem situations.


The format of this approach also aims to build a long-term supportive group of individuals meeting regularly over a set period of time. This continuity makes it possible to follow and update the progress of the issue owner and to make space available for members to present their concerns to the group.


A supportive approach for every social change leader!

To find out more about it

by Rachel Gnagniko

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