ACTION LEARNING, ACTION RESEARCH AND REFLECTIVE PRACTICE BY PROFESSOR RON PASSFIELD PURPOSE OF SESSION • to explain action learning and how it underpins Work-Applied Learning • to highlight the role of reflective practice in Work-Applied Learning • to explore action research as a Work-Applied Learning process ACTION LEARNING - DEFINITION (Passfield, 2001) Action learning within an organisational context involves learning in and through action while collaborating with others on personal and organisational improvement. It typically involves a learning group (often called a “learning set”) focused on a project or work endeavour. Action learning takes people outside their comfort zone, provides supportive challenge, builds relationships, raises personal and organisational awareness and builds confidence along with competence. ACTION LEARNING CYCLE ACTION LEARNING - NORMS • offer advice, challenge, and support • challenge assumptions • reflect & develop questioning insight • treat each others as peers • admit what we do not know and what is not working well • take a system perspective • accept responsibility for own actions and own learning. ACTION LEARNING - VALUES • inclusiveness and respect for diversity • honesty and integrity • collaboration • relationships are important ACTION LEARNING – VISIBLE ROI • Improved productivity • Reduced costs • Innovation • Increased sales • Quality service • Knowledge creation and knowledge sharing ACTION LEARNING – HIDDEN ROI • Confidence to use pre-existing competencies • An expanded view of what they are capable of • Removal of erroneous assumptions • Increased congruence between words and actions • Improved understanding of organisational context • Capacity for reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action • Deep relationships that fuel positive, systemic outcomes • Development of new competencies and confidence • Enhanced capacity as a change agent. REFLECTIVE PRACTICE– DEFINITION (Schön 1983: 68) The practitioner allows himself to experience surprise, puzzlement, or confusion in a situation which he finds uncertain or unique. He reflects on the phenomenon before him, and on the prior understandings which have been implicit in his behaviour. He carries out an experiment which serves to generate both a new understanding of the phenomenon and a change in the situation. KOLB – EXPERIMENTAL LEARNING (1984) SOME REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS • What did I set out to do? • What action did I take? • What were the assumptions behind my actions? • What desired outcomes did I achieve? • What were the unintended consequences? • How did I/they feel about what happened? • How has this experience changed my understanding of the situation? • What will I do differently next time? REFLECTIVE PRACTICE - STANCES • Reflection-on-action (Schön) – reflection after action • Reflection-in-action (Schön) – reflection in the course of action • Reflection about action (Zeichner, 1993) – reflection on the context (social, political, educational) ACTION RESEARCH (Adapted from Bob Dick, AREOL Resources) Action research focuses simultaneously on action (creating change and improvement) and research (exploration and understanding). Change is created through participative processes designed to achieve the desired outcomes. Research is embedded in the situation and change processes. Action research is cyclical in nature with the constant interplay between action and reflection and between change and research. ACTION RESEARCH (Passfield 2013) CHARACTERISTICS OF ACTION RESEARCH • Cyclical • Participative • Grounded • Responsive • Eclectic • Qualitative & Quantitative • Critically reflective • Emergent DATA COLLECTION AND RIGOUR • Multiple cycles with embedded critical reflection • Multiple respondents • Multiple data sources • Seeking disconfirming evidence DATA COLLECTION METHODS • Interviewing • Focus Groups • Convergent Interviewing • Observation and recording • Video and audio capture • Survey • Journaling • Intervention/evaluation tools • Software to capture reflections, insights, concepts • Reports – verbal and written AR CONTRIBUTION TO KNOWLEDGE • Contribution to understanding - process and content • Level of knowledge – concepts, principles, theory of action, models • Model for action REFLECTIVE PRACTICE AND ALAR • Reflective practice develops individual professionalism • Reflective practice enriches the reflection phase of action learning and action research • Action learning and action research add the social dimension and rigour to the reflective process FURTHER READING • Kolb, David (1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. • Dick, Bob, Action Research and Evaluation Online (AREOL) (online course open to the public – can be accessed in own time or at scheduled times as a 14 week email course with a global participant group). http://www.aral.com.au/areol/ • Passfield R. (2012) Action Research Strategies for Sustainable Development in Public Sector Organisations in Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt (Ed.), Action Research for Sustainable Development in a Turbulent World, Emerald Publishing Group, Bingley, UK, 189-203. • Schön, Donald (1983) Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action, Basic Books, New York. • Shankar Sankaran, Bob Dick, Ron Passfield & Pam Swepson (Eds.) (2001), Effective Change Management Using Action Learning and Action Research: Concepts, Frameworks, Processes, Applications Southern Cross University Press, Lismore, Australia. • Zeichner, K.M. (1993) Action Research: Personal Renewal and Social Reconstruction, Educational Action Research, 1, 199-220.