Action Learning Past, Present, and Future

By: Robin Hurst  

The story of action learning begins in the coalmines of Wales in the 1940’s when Reg Revans began exploring new ways of solving problems by involving the miners themselves rather than bringing in outside experts. Over the next 40 years, Revans practiced and wrote about action learning, bringing it to Europe, Asia and Australia. Jack Welch brought Action Learning to General Electric and the United States in the 1980’s. Action learning, however, was little known and practiced until several action learning books were published and conferences convened in the 1990’s. Through the efforts of organizations such as the International Federation of Action Learning and the World Institute for Action Learning, action learning quickly became the leadership development and problem solving methodology of thousands of corporations and government agencies around the world. Research on action learning continues to identify ever more powerful ways for action learning to be used in virtual, national and global settings. The session will explore the history of Action Learning, Action Learning in its present state, and provide predictions of Action Learning in the future. This session is significant because it identifies the main strengths, pitfalls and challenges of action learning to date and provides a future vision of its potential value/impact worldwide.

Action Learning, Reginal Revans, Action Learning Developing Managers and Leaders
Management Education
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Robin Hurst

Assistant Professor and Coordinator, MEd in Adult Learning and PhD in Adult Learning, Teaching and Learning, Virginia Commonwealth Univerrsity

Robin Hurst is an Assistant Professor of Human Resource Development (HRD) in the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, where she teaches HRD courses such as Consulting Skills, Change Strategies, and Action Learning, and coordinates the Masters in Adult Learning program, as well as the PhD in Urban Services - Adult Learning. She is a graduate of The George Washington University in Human and Organizational Learning. Robin spent over 20 years in Human Resources in both domestic and multinational corporations. Her research interests are around Orgnizational Culture development, Change in Organizations, and Action Learning as a tool for management development and graduate student development