Action learning: how can it contribute to a collaborative process of pedagogical action research?

O'Siochru, Cathal and Norton, Lin and Pilkington, Ruth and Parr, Elizabeth and Anderson, Babs and Maslen, Joseph (2020) Action learning: how can it contribute to a collaborative process of pedagogical action research? Educational Action Research. ISSN Print ISSN: 0965-0792 Online ISSN: 1747-5074

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This paper explores the processes and outcomes of an action research project, which utilised action learning sets to explore the experiences of a community of academics, who promote pedagogical enhancement in a UK university. Five academics acted as participant action researchers in a longitudinal study exploring the issues they face within their community of practice. Action learning sets were used as the forum through which the participants could discuss the issues they face. The result is an interwoven fabric of action learning and action research, with participants utilizing their reflections on the action research process itself as a catalyst to achieve greater insight into the issues they sought to address through their action learning. This paper explores the themes that emerged from these reflections: choosing between seeking ‘solutions’ versus promoting discussion in the action learning sets, the complementarity of action research and action learning, the challenges of a collective mode of inquiry. Ultimately, we offer up the process of incorporating action learning sets within an action research project as a participatory approach that can engage colleagues in different roles to reflect on pedagogical practice. Our findings demonstrate both the potential benefits and challenges inherent in combining action learning and action research.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: "This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Educational Action Research on 26th November 2020, available online at:
Keywords: Action learning; pedagogical; enhancement; community of practice; sets; collaboration; professional development
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Education Studies
Depositing User: Philippa Williams
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2021 09:18
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2021 12:51

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