Intentions and Interpretations of Action Learning

A variety of forms of action learning (hereafter abbreviated as AL) are growing in significance, as a leading workplace learning approach in organisations worldwide. In this dissertation, I study the intentions and interpretations of AL, as developed by its founder, Dr Reginald Revans. The dissertation consists of four main sections. Initially, I attempt to explain the relevance of AL within the broader context of lifelong learning, leading to an understanding of the significance of AL as a learning method for adult learners. I go on to probe into the meaning of AL to determine its distinctiveness, by investigating its origins and history, as well as to seek out the learning principles that form the concept of AL. Then, I examine the way in which AL has evolved or regressed, stemming from different schools of thought within the AL community. Interviews with AL experts, rare sources of Revans‟ unpublished work, and a case study application of traditional AL serve to support my analysis. Finally, this dissertation narrows in on the AL model adopted in the Singapore context by examining an AL program in a local university. An examination of the nature of AL leads me to conclude that its eclectic nature allows it to be shaped according to the larger context of lifelong learning in which it is applied. In the case of Singapore, this has resulted in a form of AL characterised by a high degree of structure, procedures and taught instruction, least like the AL approach conceived by Revans.

Read the full dissertation here.




Ramaswamy Nithya

As a Design and Development Consultant for Forum’s Asia Pacific region, Nithya provides insight, advice and learning design and development expertise to clients by working in close partnership with Sales, Delivery as well as internal stakeholders and ensures the development of learning solutions that are strategically tailored to meeting clients’ learning requirements and business needs. Nithya holds a Bachelors degree in Business Studies from Nanyang Technological University and has recently completed her Master of Arts in Lifelong Learning with a Distinction Award from the Institute of Education, University of London.

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