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Action Learning Set

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Ingredients

6 per group max Group of peers
Multiple groups of peers Optional
Ground rules Ground rules available to all participants.

Nutritional information

Offers participants an opportunity for personal development.
Improves problem solving, as well as questioning and listening skills.
Helps participants tackle complex tasks.
Allows participants to learn from other organizations facing similar challenges.

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Action Learning Set

There are no problems we cannot solve together and very few that we can solve by ourselves. – Lyndon B. Johnson

  • 2 hours
  • Serves 6
  • Medium

Ingredients

Directions

An Action Learning Set is a group of peers who regularly come together to work through real wellbeing challenges, using questioning to help the presenter to re-interpret challenging situations and produce new solutions.

ALSs are a powerful way to share lessons and a safe environment to progress new ideas. They promote individual accountability and enhance the group’s problem-solving capacity as well as offering opportunities for self-discovery and improvements in communication skills.

 

Principles

Resourcefulness – The fundamental principle of Action Learning Sets is the belief that the presenter can solve his or her own issues with his or her own resources.

Generosity – An ALS should be presenter-led and participant-enabled. You should give the presenter the gift of 100% focus.

Openness – Participants should use non-directive and non-leading questions to help the presenter understand their own situation better and find their own solutions.

Non-judgement – Don’t exercise your (positive or negative) judgement of the presenter’s actions or beliefs – including after the ALS.

Respect – No talking over/interrupting people. Turn your phone off before you start.

Confidentiality – Adopt ‘Chatham House Rules’, what happens in ALS stays in ALS. No notetaking.

Example of Non Directive Questions

“How are you currently approaching the issue?”

“What other options are there?”

“How do you feel about the situation?”

Example of Directive Questions

“Do you really think that’s a good idea?”

“Why don’t you try this?”

“You must be frustrated. Are you frustrated?”

*Images are Copyright to Evelien Buynsters

Steps

1
Done
10'

Check in

- Agree a facilitator and a timekeeper.
- Facilitator introduces session and guides a check-in.
- 'What's up?' 'What's happened since last time?

2
Done
5'

Ground rules

- Facilitator reads out ground rules.
- Any to add/clarify?

3
Done
5'

Bidding round

Each participant presents a ‘one-liner’ on what they would present and gives a mark out of five for how burning the issue is.

4
Done
5'

Agree presenter

The group decide, by consensus, which issue they should look at (usually the most urgent and/or ‘meaty’ issue).

5
Done
10'

Introduction

Presenter introduces the issue, completely uninterrupted.

6
Done
5'

Clarification

Participants ask questions of clarification only.

7
Done
45'

Understanding

Participants ask open questions about the issue.

8
Done
10'

Action round

Participants move presenter towards commitments to action.

9
Done
15'

Reflection round

Participants reflect on the process, the presenter, then the issue

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Giving and receiving circle