Learning

Academy of Learning

 

 

The whole approach of the Business Decisions Academy of Learning is founded on the concept of ‘enabling learning organisations’.

 

That is, organisations harvest current knowledge and develop employees by having them solve real organisational problems in real time to provide real benefits. This means your organisation’s training investment for management development will represent a return now, rather than in one or more years down the track. The methodology underpinning this process is action learning.

1. Action Learning

In these days of very busy managers and constant rapid change, traditional learning paradigms have become out-dated and, as Dr Harry Woodward says in his book Navigating Through Change, the idea of applying normative management solutions to turbulent times is a nonsense.

Action Learning has its roots in the early part of the 20th century in northern England when Reg Revans, the acknowledged founding father of the process, urged people to solve their own problems by asking questions and then taking action to remedy the situation. Since then it has undergone changes and now has several different forms.

2. Action Learning Forums

Many companies and trainers state that they use action learning processes. Some do, but many do not. The process of running a training program and then asking participants to use that knowledge in the workplace is an extremely simplistic version of the process and somewhat stretches the definition ofaction learning. Yet it is a commonly stated form of action learning.

The form of action learning used by organisations that truly understand its power and usefulness is that of creating action learning teams who are empowered and motivated to solve organisational problems and identify a tangible return on investment. Dolitch and Noel in their 1998 book, Action Learning, How the World’s Top Companies are Recreating Themselves, give examples of three types of action learning:

  • Action learning as a mechanism for cultural change
  • Action leaning as a mechanism for developing people faster and better
  • Action learning as a mechanism for raising revenue or reducing costs

In all cases, the action learning form is far more an embedded process of thinking where teams are empowered and encouraged to think, challenge and take action to resolve issues. The incentive for the teams is to improve the workplace and to solve problems and is far more complex than merely asking participants from a training program to implement the skills they have been taught.

A third form of action learning addresses the dual and arguably more important incentive of the “what’s in if for me?” issue. Busy managers often have little time, and incentive, to undertake more activities. Thus action learning sets (groups), just like the quality circles of TQM, can just fade away with little or no tangible results. The reason is that there is little “what’s in it for me” for busy people to be given even more work to do.  Offering credits towards professional qualifications gives the action learner a personal incentive to complete the problem solving task. Thus there is a real win/win created.

Clearly then, if organisations are interested in solving complex issues, in implementing their core strategies and in giving their employees the chance to further themselves, this form of action learning has strong credentials.

 

 

Associated Bodies

 

International Management Centers Association (IMCA)

 

IMC Association is the leading global professional body for career and continuing professional development through lifelong action learning, working in partnership with individuals and enterprises in Europe, The Americas, The Orient, The Pacific and Africa.

It is committed to advancing the professional and managerial careers of its Members both directly and with the support of the organisations with which they work and has exclusively espoused Action Learning and action research as the core processes for Member development. It is committed to advance the understanding and dissemination of these processes of professional and managerial career development on a global basis.

IMC Association readily embraces all media for communicating and disseminating knowledge and learning and is especially committed to remaining at the forefront of new capabilities created by the Internet.

It is inclusive as a profession and welcomes and encourages new Members through the provision of open access to the Association’s services to achieve the various degrees of membership.

IMC Association believes that the 21st Century will see a major growth in demand for lifelong learning to meet both unavoidable and deliberate career changes and that its Members will receive from the Association the significant support required in such transitions.

It is professionally independent in order to serve the interests of its Members first and last but works whenever it can to further advance its Members’ interest with other organisations.

The IMC Association is a global and multinational professional institution and requires affirmative action from its Members on programs of career development to improve opportunities for the disadvantaged as well as moving forward with well advantaged individuals and organisations.

IMCA works with organisations and consultants worldwide to deliver action learning courses and programs.