Action learning – a simple evaluation tool

I recently had the pleasure of delivering an Action Learning Facilitator training programme to people nominated by the Rank Foundation.

ALA has worked with the Foundation for some time, they do terrific work. We admire particularly their Time to Shine offer for young people who feel as if they have lost their way, and older people seeking to return to work after unemployment or caring responsibilities.

They work through a great Rank Foundation programme [which includes action learning sets], and then become interns at a range of socially useful organisations. The hope is that the internships will lead to employment, and they very often do.

Action learning facilitator training programme

The Foundation has already begun to develop its own action learning facilitators, and this programme was funded by Rank for people who will facilitate for Rank in the future. As is usual, we set ground rules for working together:

  • what do you expect of yourself?
  • what do you expect of each other?
  • what do you expect of the trainer?

Throughout the programme, I used these evaluations, together with the participants’ aims, to check that we were working well and usefully.

I also used them as a quick and dirty evaluation tool at the end, inviting participants to score each: 1, not met at all: 2, partly met and 3, fully met.

Of course, the fuller evaluation forms have been requested, but using the ground rules in this way felt as if we were completing the circle of our time together, and, as I invited the assessment to be carried out during the last break of the last day, it gave me time to check out any 1s and 2s awarded to me, asking, what would they like me to have done differently?

The expectations of me were:

  • assertive direction
  • honest feedback
  • guidance
  • tips and tricks of the trade, examples of where action learning works well
  • share experience
  • patience

To my own surprise, [and certainly family and friends would be surprised, but I won’t tell them] I lost points on assertive direction, yet none on patience, so I will push a little harder next time. It proves that others’ opinions are often different to our own, which is why open, honest feedback in an environment of trust, is invaluable and a worthwhile element of action learning.

Where there was a drop in points of expectations of self or of others, I would take time to discuss this information. By offering a 3 minute reflection to pause, inviting people to say what they might focus on, for example, challenge more where needed, it gave meaning and added worth to the evaluation process.

No doubt many of you have other easy approaches to supporting your intuitive assessment of the success or otherwise, of your training or facilitation…please share them.

 

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