Reg Revans argued that classroom-based management education (or training) is not adequate. He devised a systematic, experiential or action learning programme based on job exchanges which place managers in unfamiliar situations and ask them to take on challenging tasks.
The whole process revolves around a real-life problem that needs to be important to the organization. (...) People
are chosen for an action learning team (composed of four to eight members) for their experience
and ability to contribute to the learning process - and also for the developmental benefit to them. So they must
already possess relevant knowledge or skills for the particular issue they are working on. It is beneficial to
have participants from a wide range of departments or functions, representing a number of views. They need
to be positive and open-minded about the issue and possible solutions. It is also customary
to appoint a team facilitator who is not a leader but helps the team to work together.
The process is different from traditional training in that:
* Tasks must be based on real work projects.
* Projects must be owned and defined by senior managers and be important to the future of the organization.
* The process is an investment requiring a real return on cost.
* Managers must work in groups, learning from each other and crossing boundaries between functions and departments.
* Projects must go beyond analysis - they should require real actionand change.
* Content (programmed knowledge) and process (questions/methods) of change should be studied.
* There must be public commitment from participants to action/report.
Revans' ideas are consistent with the principles of the (...).
The emphasis lies with learning rather than training and with meeting the changing needs of an
organization in a competitive world.
Based on the glossary section of Human Resource Management, 4th edition.