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Emma Falkner

ECF Training and Action Learning UK

Director of ECF Training and Action Learning UK

Read more from Emma Falkner

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The 4 essential steps to setting up a successful action learning programme


Step 1. Contact an action learning expert

 Consult a trained action learning facilitator that is well experienced in successfully setting up and delivering action learning in a work place. The facilitator should work with you to ensure the next steps.

Step 2. Get buy in from the top!

 It is vital to have management and executive buy in.

When you have enthusiasm at the top for action learning, you are on your way to having an effective action learning programme. If senior management isn’t interested or doesn’t value the concept of action learning (even if this just is a perception), there will be less incentive for set members to commit to the sessions and results will be negligible.

 Step 2. Involve all staff!

 All staff need to understand how action learning will benefit everybody in the organisation and not just those directly involved in the sets.

As many staff as possible in the organisation need to understand:

  • The benefits of action learning
  • What is expected of them once they join the action learning set
  • What it is like being part of an action learning set

The best way of explaining this is to set up an action learning ‘briefing’ (approx a 2 hour session) for interested members of staff.

It is vital that this briefing is delivered by a trained and experienced action learning facilitator.

 Step 3. Identify a co-ordinator

 You need an enthusiastic, organized, proactive member of staff who can take on the role of action learning set co-ordinator. The co-ordinator is often also a member of the set.

The co-ordinator is responsible for:

  • Liaising with the external action learning facilitator
  • Identifying potential set members
  • Arranging dates and booking venues
  • Feeding back actions to the rest of the organsiation,
  • Communicating the quantifiable and qualitative benefits of the action learning programme

The Co-ordinator is crucial - without them a well-intentioned action learning set can fizzle out after just a few months.


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Emma Falkner

Director of ECF Training and Action Learning UK

Read more from Emma Falkner

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