Action Learning Resources 

Here, you’ll find a list of books, events, tools and resources that will help you stay informed and up to date on all things Action Learning.

Recommended reading

Here's a list of books and articles on Action Learning and Coaching

Action Learning Events

Action Learning for Facilitators (ALF)

ALF takes place quarterly in London and provides a professional development forum specifically for people who facilitate Action Learning Sets. Follow the link for more information, dates and to join.

Next ALF event:

Thursday 5th December 2019, 10am to 4.30pm
Venue:  Diorama, 201 Drummond St, Regent’s Place, London, NW1 3FE

Helping Action Learning sets to become self-facilitating - Led by Caragh Dewis and Lucy Pitman-Wallace.

ALF members Lucy Pitman-Wallace and Caragh Dewis will lead us in a really valuable discussion on how to move action learning sets to self-facilitation.

They will be exploring questions such as:
- what might set members and facilitators be thinking and feeling about moving to self-facilitation?
- what tools do sets need to be self-facilitating?
- as facilitators how can we best support groups into self-facilitation?
- how do you know when a set is ready?
- what does a great transition look like?

Please join us for this great opportunity to share experiences and insights about self facilitation. And above all to get curious! ( and eat mince pies of course)

To book your place, join the mailing list or for more information about ALF please email Janie Wilson

Cost: £20

Future 2020 dates to be announced

Key terms

Like many organisational development and coaching methodologies, there are a number of words or phrases specific to Action Learning. Here are the definitions of the most common ones:

  • Action Learning cycle – each AL Set has a given number of sessions. A classic cycle usually has six sessions meeting about every 4-6 weeks. The first session establishes the Set through introducing the people, process and principles, clarifying the purpose, and agreeing ways of working. The last session brings the Set to an end through reflecting on the journey travelled and reviewing progress, outcomes and learning gaining along the way.

  • Action Learning Sets – a group of 5-7 people, plus a facilitator, who commit to meet regularly and attend all the sessions.

  • Facilitator – the person who supports, guides and facilitates the group through the AL cycle. They help the Set stay on track, keep to time and ensure there is a balance between focusing on the task and the learning.

  • Issue holders – also known as the presenter or problem holder. This person works on their issue by sharing theirs views and perceptions of the challenge or opportunity they’re addressing.

  • Multiple issue Sets – each person brings an issue that is real, significant and current for them. In these Sets, there can be a multitude of topics discussed.

  • Peer Action Learning Sets – also referred to as open AL Sets, they bring together people from a number of businesses such as CEOs or business owners. They are great for senior leaders who want the opportunities AL Sets provide to discuss issues with peers in a confidential and supportive arena.

  • Process review – learning comes from reviewing and reflecting how the sessions are going. The process review is time given to look at what’s working, reflect on skills and how well they are being used, and what the group collectively or individually can do to improve and develop so future sessions are more effective.

  • Progress updates – the time given to review actions and progress on the issues being addressed. Reflecting on progress and outcomes is an integral part to the action learning cycle, irrespective of whether actions are fully implemented or successful.

  • Self-facilitating Sets – these are Sets that facilitate for themselves by sharing the facilitation role amongst those in the group. They often start with a dedicated, experienced facilitator and go on to become self-facilitating.

  • Set members – also referred to as supporters. There are group members who listen, support and ask questions of the issue holder.

  • Single issue Sets – everyone in the Set works on the same issue, such as implementing a strategy

  • Virtual Action Learning – Sets that meet either by phone or using virtual technologies via computer, tablets or smart phones. Usually used for dispersed project teams or for organisations that have multiple sites.