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  • Writer's pictureIan Gibbs

Key Learning Techniques #4: Action Learning

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

I'm not the only person who believes there is room for improving regarding the way we learn.

In the 1940s, ex-Olympic athlete and managing consultant Reg Revans was also disillusioned with the academic method and developed what he called Action Learning.

Action Learning is a structured way of learning through trial and error: You have a go, see what happens, reflect, make adjustments and try again.

It typically involves five key components:

  • a real problem or challenge

  • a group of people committed to solving the problem

  • a process of reflection and analysis

  • a commitment to action (hence 'Action Learning')

  • a facilitator to guide the process.

By working through problems in this collaborative and structured way, people start to improve their problem-solving capabilities, which can help them to become more effective and innovative when learning new ways to do things.

It's appropriate for any group of individuals working to solve a common problem.

For example, a group of employees from different departments in a company who get together to solve a specific challenge they have by generating new ideas, testing them out and refining them based on the results.

This method could also be used by teachers to address a particular challenge they're facing in the classroom, such as improving student engagement or developing more effective lesson plans. They might work together to develop and test new strategies and assess the results.

It's a tried and tested process that produces great results. That's why it's part of the formula I use in my Learning Clubs, where individuals work on their own personal development challenges but at the same time help the other members with theirs.

But you don't have to be part of a group to try out Action Learning. Whether it's personal development, career development or just your own pet learning project, you can still use a simplified version to push ahead and learn by putting your ideas into action.


  1. Identify the problem

  2. Come up with a variety of possible solutions

  3. Test them out in a limited way

  4. Analyse and reflect on the results

Action Learning is a great learning tool that can help you to think outside the box and generate new solutions and so improve performance.

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