The Application of Blended Action Learning to Leadership Development: A Case Study

The Application of Blended Action Learning to Leadership Development: A Case Study

Kate Thornton (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) and Pak Yoong (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-958-8.ch012

Abstract

This chapter describes the use of blended action learning in a professional development context. Action learning is a process that involves small groups of learners working on issues or problems they face in their every day work with the support of a facilitator. Although action learning sets most often meet faceto- face, ICT is increasingly being used to support or in some cases replace traditional set meetings, thus providing a ‘blended’ approach. Action learning is a potentially empowering process that encourages reflection and questioning and promotes shifts in workplace practice. The role of the action learning facilitator appears to be a key element in the success of this approach. The purpose of this chapter is to describe a case study of a blended action learning process designed to support leadership development and discuss the subsequent implications and emerging trends.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

Blended action learning is a process that involves small groups or sets of learners working on issues or problems in face-to-face settings with the use of ICT to support some of the interactions. This chapter describes a case study in which participants, who were teachers in the New Zealand Early Childhood Education (ECE) sector, both met face-to-face in facilitated workshops and interacted online. The online interactions allowed for ongoing reflection, discussion and the sharing of knowledge and resources related to leadership back at their respective workplaces. The open source software MOODLE1 was the enabling technology used in this study and the ICTs used include email, online reflective journals, forum discussions including online forums, and chat sessions. The group used an action learning process to learn about themselves as leaders and to work collaboratively on issues and challenges related to their leadership roles. Preliminary data from this study suggests that blended action learning groups are a very effective model for use in leadership development. Some of the benefits of this model are that it: allows for an intensive professional learning experience while not requiring a large amount of scheduled meeting time; encourages both individual and shared reflection; supports participants to identify and take action on issues that they face in their everyday work; and builds communities of practice through the sharing of knowledge and the building of strong networks. Both the action learning process and the role of the action learning facilitator in the face-to-face and virtual learning environments will be described and analysed in this chapter.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset