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Understanding Action Learning (AMA Innovations in Adult Learning) Paperback – November 21, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

As much as adult learners can absorb in a classroom, they learn and retain a lot more on the job. Action Learning, or AL, can be based on any of several different schools of thought, and there is much debate as to which is ideal.

The authors advocate tailoring the best attributes of each approach to the specific purpose and the learning environment. Drawing on theory from Self-Directed Learning, Learning from Experience, and Transformative Learning, Understanding Action Learning enables the reader to make an informed decision about which approach or combination to use in his or her organization, and provides:

* a theoretical model that explains the different approaches to AL, and a framework for identifying which approach to use

* a focus on co-design in creating Action Learning programs

* practical tools, assessments, and exercises

* illuminating stories and case studies from the field

Combining top-shelf research with real-world experience, Understanding Action Learning is a crucial resource for adult educators everywhere.

About the Author

Judy O'Neil, Ed.D., M.A. (Warwick, RI) is on the adjunct faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University. Victoria J. Marsick, Ph.D. (New York, NY) is professor of education in the Adult Learning and Leadership program at Teachers College.

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Product Details

  • Series: AMA Innovations in Adult Learning
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM (November 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814473954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814473955
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,611,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jennifer L. Yates on October 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Understanding Action Learning, by O'Neil & Marsick, is an excellent resource for practitioners interested in building a learning environment in the workplace focused on solving real problems and addressing real challenges through a collaborative process. The book's major strengths are its readability and applicability. The authors have extensive experience in global applications of Action Learning and provide many examples of how it has been used successfully in different kinds of organizations. It is probably unrealistic to expect any book to serve as a "cookbook" for implementing AL as it takes on different forms depending on the context; however, the accompanying templates, tools, and strategies could easily be adapted for use in a variety of settings. The multiple real-world examples helped me understand how AL might look in different types of organizations. The book provides an excellent overview of AL, and serves as a good resource for people trying to decide if AL is the appropriate approach to use in their workplace. I found the experience-based strategies for success extremely helpful. I also appreciated the emphasis on action learning as a cyclical, continuous process of creating and supporting positive organizational change.
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Format: Paperback
Since most people develop their leadership skills through real-life experiences, I wanted to understand how to help others maximize their learning while they engage in real work. The O'Neil and Marsick book, Understanding Action Learning, has been the most helpful book that I've read about how to design, implement and evaluate a developmental program which includes an action learning approach.

In particular, the sections which describe the different kinds of learning outcomes one might achieve through this process and how to design an initiative to meet these goals, were helpful. I also found the chapter on the role of learning coaches to be very informative.

O'Neil and Marsick provide many examples of how organizations are incorporating the action learning process into their work. Community based health organizations and multi-organizational teams can benefit from this approach as well. This book is an excellent resource for those helping to develop high performance health teams.
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Format: Paperback
Having some experience with Action Learning I found the book to provide a concise and well rounded explanation for the different schools of AL and what it takes to implement these programs. It was particularly helpful to read the examples of different programs implemented in corporations. This book provides theory, how-to and real-life examples in a easy to read and relevant package. I would recommend anyone looking to weed through all the literature and implement Action Learning in their corporation or practice to use this book to guide your efforts.
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Format: Paperback
Having had the privilege of working with Judy O'Neil in co-designing many different leadership programs, I have used many of the tools included in her book, Understanding Action Learning, for successful results. Because Action Learning requires a considerable investment in time from the participants and others in the organization, having a very clear goals on the desired outcome is essential. Understanding Action Learning outlines a process to help the program manager design a program that would best fit the needs of the organization.

Once the program has been designed, Understanding Action Learning offers a wealth of material to enable the participants to really learn from their experience in the program. What I have found to be especially helpful are the tools around helping participants reflect and take action on the project work as it unfolds.

In addition to the materials that I have tested in my own programs, Understanding Action Learning includes other approaches that I have not yet found the opportunity to apply. If others find Action Learning to be an invaluable tool in developing future leaders as I do, then I highly recommend this book as an essential resource to support a successful implementation of an Action Learning program.
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