Action Learning Sets (ALS)

An ALS can be set up by any member wishing to work with others to develop their competence and can have a variable number of members, typically from 4 to 9. It doesn’t have to focus on a single topic, but each member of the set must have a problem domain that they can act in. For details of how to run an ALS see Revans “ABC of Action Learning”, the International Foundation for Action Learning or an equivalent guide. Within an ALS, members can base their learning around problems and learn whichever approaches or skills are prompted by the nature of the situation, or set out specific learning objectives – particular skills they want to improve and then use a problematic situation to help them do that. 

ALS can be run just as a peer group, or with a coach, and, within this context, an ALS may choose to draw in technical experts with specific competencies to help with specific learning objectives. As with mentoring, members of an ALS should contract with each other to agree how the ALS will function and upon any ground rules.

Where an ALS uses a facilitator or coach, that person will be responsible for:

  1. providing learning resources including taught material where appropriate
  2. supporting the learners in their learning process
  3. supporting the learners in their application of the approach to their work situation
  4. providing a part of the assessment of each learner.

Learners will be responsible for:

  1. their own learning
  2. supporting the learning of other group members
  3. providing part of the assessment of other learners in the group including indicative future learning needs

Organisations may, where possible and appropriate, provide part of the action learning assessment for individual learners.