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The International Foundation for Action Learning - UK ChapterSeptember 2011 
in this issue
News and Notices
Article: Critical Action Learning
Resource File: Leaders We Deserve
Adverts: Sets and Services
next Action Learning News
quick links

The IFAL Conference 'Action Learning and the Virtual World' on 27th October in London is nearly full - and we do still have a few places available if you'd like to come.  Please contact Jan for details.
The Conference will be opened by Dr Yury Boshyk, who will speak on 'Reg Revans and the Evolution of Action Learning: From the Titanic to Twitter'. Yury is co-author of the recently published 'Action Learning: History and Evolution' and a world authority on business-driven AL.
This will be followed by sharing of experiences from the virtual Action Learning Sets which have been meeting pre-conference.  I'm very much looking forward to hearing about what people have learned.
In the afternoon, there will be workshops on different aspects of virtual working led by the Open University, the ViTAL project for small businesses and (via an online link) a Seattle-based expert on Second Life.
The 2011 IFAL AGM will follow at 5.30pm and you are all welcome to attend.  If you would like to join the Executive - or you'd like to find out what being an Executive member involves, please contact the Admin office.
Best wishes,

Sean Cunningham

Contact us for details of how to join IFAL and how to contribute to the newsletter.

News and notices 

The IFAL Logo

We didn't receive any entries for a new IFAL logo - maybe that's a sign that the current one is fine!  We will be considering in the next few months whether the logo should be updated - in the meantime, let us know if you have comments or suggestions.


The journal 'Action Learning: Research and Practice'

Reduced rate subscription for IFAL members 

The journal Action Learning edited by Mike Pedler and Kiran Trehan publishes articles which look to advance knowledge and awareness, and assist the development of practice through the processes of action learning. As well as publishing original research articles, it also looks to publish accounts of practice, which work through real-life examples and experiences of action learning. For more information, please visit the journal's homepage at  www.tandf.co.uk/journals/actionlearning.


For IFAL members, a special discounted rate has been arranged for you to purchase an annual subscription to the journal for just �36 for UK subscribers (non UK subscribers please ask for rates for your country), which is a reduction of nearly 60% on our standard personal subscription rate. To subscribe to Action Learning at this discounted rate, please contact the Routledge team via  email quoting ZC06906W and your IFAL membership number. Alternatively, we can be contacted on the following telephone number +44 (0)20 7017 5543. 

Article: Critical Action Learning  

By Russ Vince, Associate Dean (Research) and Professor of Leadership and Change, School of Management, University of Bath

Critical Action Learning (CAL) seeks to reveal how power relations are part of action

learning. Therefore, the emphasis of CAL is not only on the 'empowerment' of the

individual learner but also on the ways in which learning is supported, avoided and

prevented within Sets and in organizations through relations of power.


In the context of Action Learning, relations of power may be represented by, for

example, individuals' risk-averse behaviour in Sets; collective defensiveness and denial;

or Set members' unconscious compliance to certain habits, norms and expectations. An

assumption at the heart of CAL is that power relations are an inevitable and integral

aspect of Action Learning.


CAL engages with an ongoing tension - between the radical potential of Action Learning

to make change happen and the political purpose behind the use of Action Learning

within an organization.


IFAL Conference and AGM 2011 - 27th October 2011 (places still available)

Action Learning and the Virtual World

Opening Speaker: Yury Boshyk, Chair,Global Executive Learning and co-author 'Action Learning: History and Evolution'

Thursday 27th October 10.30am to 5.00pm at Lumen, 88 Tavistock Place, London (a few minutes' walk from Kings Cross, St Pancras and Euston stations). 

More details of the Conference and a booking form...

ALF (Action Learning for Facilitators)
Next meeting: topic to be announced
Venue: Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London (near Kings Cross, St Pancras)
Wednesday 7th December 2011 from 10.30am to 4.30pm (coffee from 10.00am) 
For details and to go on the mailing list for future events, please contact Janie Wilson 

What is ALF?

ALF Days are for people who are familiar with an action learning format and skills and who facilitate sets. They are an opportunity to meet other facilitators, have feedback on our skills, explore challenging issues, share tips and try out new ideas for working in sets. In the morning we explore a particular theme or themes in action learning. This session is facilitated by ALF members. We spend all or part of the afternoon taking turns to facilitate and present in sets and practice with the issues explored in the morning.  The fee for attending is simply a share of the venue cost - typically between �15-20.


ALFS (Action Learning for Facilitators - Scotland)

Following the IFAL Conference held in Scotland in 2009, a group was formed so that those with an interest in enhancing their AL practice could meet with and work with other facilitators.  Since that date the group has met regularly at various venues in Glasgow and we have had many stimulating and worthwhile meetings.


At the meeting on 18 August those who attended reviewed progress to date and proposed a format for future meetings.  ALFS will meet 5 times a year and next meeting dates are:

    • October 25th 2011
    • January 10th 2012
    • March 13th 2012.

at 1pm to 4pm.  The meeting will focus on our professional development and IFAL members and non-members are warmly invited to come along. New and innovative ideas in developing action learning practice are always welcome.


The meeting on October 25th will be held at Clifton House, Clifton Place, which is on the western end of Sauchiehall Steet in Glasgow. This is within walking distance of all stations. If you are interested in joining the group and/or coming along to the meetings, please email Glyn Jones.


ALAW (Action Learning Across Wales)

If you would like to receive information, please contact Noreen 

What is ALAW?

ALAW is a group of people who have experience of AL, either as set members or facilitators and who meet every six weeks to discuss their experiences of setting up, facilitating, and participating in action learning sets.  At each ALAW session, a member of the group draws on their own experiences to lead a workshop on a theory, technique, or model which they find interesting or useful in facilitating action learning; this is often an opportunity for participants to explore new ideas and experiment with models form different disciplines in an action learning environment. This workshop is followed by a reflective discussion on ways in which other group members might implement the model in practice. We reserve time for action learning sessions at each meeting, and this enables us to engage with the process of action learning as set members and to experience new ways of facilitating action learning meetings.



Is there an AL-related event which you would like to advertise here?  Please contact us with your copy.

Resource File 

'Leaders We Deserve' blog by Tudor Rickards

Tudor is Professor of Creativity and Organisational Change at Manchester Business School and his blog includes items on Action Learning as well as on numerous other topics.  For example, there is a description of the use of AL in the Mersey Care Health Trust.  Other AL related items include 'Leadership and the Criticality of Action Learning' and 'Aspects of Leadership: An Action Learning Experiment'.  Search for 'Reg Revans' or 'Action Learning' to find more articles.

AL Adverts: Sets and Services 

3D Coaching

Action Learning Set Facilitator training

Participants receive written feedback against the core competencies of the International Coach Federation based on their contribution.  3D Coaching has applied for endorsement for this course from the Institute for Leadership and Management (ILM) for their training and will be advertising 2.5 day assessed courses in 2012.  For more information contact Jane on 07813 987745. 

For details and booking arrangements...


Carter Hall Associates

Professional Programme in Action Learning Facilitation (3-day) ILM Endorsed

Places still available

"CHA really supported us to understand action learning using the right balance of theory and practice.  They are skilled facilitators with the ability to ask challenging questions in a supportive way - a skill that we also developed during the course. They encouraged reflection and we left the training course not only feeling confident about running action learning sets but also having learnt something about ourselves and our colleagues."  Hazel Turner, Hampshire County Council.

Date: Monday 17th - Wednesday 19th October 2011 at 9.00am - 5.00pm (each day)  Venue: Lumen, 88 Tavistock Place, London (few minutes' walk from Kings Cross/St Pancras) Course facilitators: Jan Hall and Mollie Treverton, Carter Hall Associates.  Contact Jan for more details and a booking form.


Looking for a Set to join? 

If you are looking for a Set to join, or if your Set is looking for new members  SetMatch is a free service which helps you to find or form a Set near you.  We also have a directory of experienced AL facilitators.
Would you like to find or join a Set?  Is there an AL-related service which you would like to advertise here?  Please contact us with your copy.
next Action Learning News...
Action Learning News is issued four times a year; in March, June, September and December.  The deadline for items for the December 2011 newsletter is 25th November

We want this to be your newsletter, so please let us know what you think and what you would like to see included.  If you would like to contribute an article, find others to form a set, or advertise an AL-related event or service please contact us for details.
"It is impossible to change organisations which do not accept the danger of their present way of doing things...organisations only change when the people in them change, and people will only change when they accept in their hearts that change must occur." John Harvey Jones