The Path to Sustainability
An introductory workshop on action learning at the outset is useful and may even be necessary to provide basic training for those participants who are unfamiliar with action learning or to refresh those who are familiar. Such an introductory workshop is also useful for creating a shared experience of what action learning typically involves. Remember that the introductory workshop on action learning is not a one-off training event. Participants need to appreciate that they are engaged in continuous learning in action through the group process and the interventions of the facilitator. A central issue in action learning training is how participants learn the value of questioning. Asking questions, rather than providing solutions, is one of the core characteristics of action learning. Indeed it is its most distinctive one. Questions aim not merely to seek answers, but to challenge people to think, to explore and to learn. They allow people to reflect, to listen and to be creative. Questions that seek to clarify, to understand, to open up new possibilities enable the emergence of new insights and perspectives. Marquardt (2004) suggests that a useful ground rule for action learning groups is that only questions be asked, and that statements be made only in response to questions. We outline two possible approaches to a training day or half day. Materials on developing action learning skills may be found in McGill and Brockbank (2004) and Marquardt (2004). The latter provides sets of useful checklists which may be used as the basis for assessing...
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