This article gives you a clue.
For centuries companies have used the training on-the-job (OJT). OJT works because it follows much of what we know about adult learning theory. For example, we know:
1. Adults learn best when new learning can be applied immediately.
2. Most of the classroom "learning" is lost due to not transferring back to work.
Action learning is a two-part method to maximize learning and productivity by maximizing the OJT. Action learning involves teams member organizations working on real organizational projects and problems. This team work 'is also accompanied by a regular (and spontaneous) reflection and a meeting facilitator who led the discussion.
Action learning projects has led to the launch of new products, acquisitions and divestments, and large-scale organizational change. In addition to a broad and measurable productivity, there are significant learning benefits of this action learning projects. Benefits include:
* Exposure to other parts of the organization,
* The development of emotional intelligence (EI),
* Studying the political realities of the organization, and
* Able to show expertise to senior management.
Clearly, action learning projects require a serious commitment of senior management. Senior management buy-in includes not only contributes to select projects and participants, but also a commitment to evaluate and implement the project.
Not every project organization is the right action learning projects. Many projects have severe time constraints will not allow sufficient time for reflection and discussion for the project team. Some projects that are not strategically important enough to justify investing organizational resources (time, people and money).
The facilitator for the action learning projects should be trained facilitators. To maximize the learning in action learning projects, trainers or facilitators must know how to extract learning from teamwork. Learning objectives should be identified at the beginning of the project. Stimulate critical thinking, reflection, creative thinking, and self-awareness is the task of the facilitator.
Action learning is one of many organizational learning strategy. Action learning should be used along with other programs organizational learning, such as individual coaching. For example, the topic of discussion a lot of training could be based on real-time learning that occurs in an action learning project.
Clearly, action learning projects (such as organizational learning and other methods), not every drug for every learning needs. However, productivity and benefits of learning to learn measures must be considered by every organization.
For more information on learning to read Dierck action projects and Saslow's May 2005 Chief Learning Officer article entitled "Action Learning Program for Management Development."