Action Learning

UHR, together with other professional service associations, runs cross-functional Action Learning Sets for deputy directors and heads of function, and we do this at least annually and often more regularly than that. You can express interest with a note to our CPD Manager Naomi Holloway, and please look out for the next Action Learning Set as we publish information on our Events page

Here’s some information about how they work.

Action Learning Set Brief:

Action Learning is a powerful development experience for leaders. It brings people together to exchange, support and challenge each other in action and learning. UHR is partnering with ARMA, AUDE, BUFDG, CHEIA, HESPA, SCONUL, and UCISA (our equivalent for professionals across Research, Estates, Internal Audit, Finance, Strategic Planning, Libraries, and IT) to offer action learning to HR staff at Deputy Director / Heads of Department or equivalent.

What is an Action Learning Set?

An Action Learning Set is a small, confidential forum where each participant brings to the meeting an organisational task, problem, challenge or opportunity on which they intend to act. Having presented the issue to the group, other participants pose questions and raise discussions which help the presenter create insight and options for action. A structured process, supported by a skilled facilitator, is used to ensure that everyone has personal ‘air-time’ as well as the opportunity to contribute to the learning of others. It is through the experience of taking action on return to the workplace that promotes reflection, learning and personal development. Given breadth of knowledge and wider HE understanding is a valuable development experience, these Action Learning Sets provide a fantastic opportunity to learn from others across the sector.

What are the benefits?

Our facilitator, Lesley Broughton, has outlined the benefits as follows:

• Input from other Deputy Directors / Heads of Department (or equivalent) in other roles who will challenge your thinking and offer a fresh perspective on organisational issues.
• Development of your active listening and questioning skills to help others gain insight – valuable skills that can be put to use in your normal working environment.
• Exposure to a variety of new and different challenges in other institutions which offers additional learning and a new perspective to broaden your scope of reference.
• Learning the challenges across other functions as your set will contain a mixture of disciplines.
• Consolidation of learning over a medium to long term period, rather than a one-off experience.
• A rare opportunity for time away from the office for deep thinking about pressing issues.
• Development of a trusted network of peers who normally continue to share thinking long after the formal ‘end’ of the action set series.

Just some of the feedback from delegates:

• The most empowering self-reflection development I have undertaken
• The ALS gave me time and space to explore difficult issues confidentially
• Great atmosphere, really relaxed and informal
• I would recommend to anyone wanting a leadership development programme that really has impact and the
  ability to transform your working practice
• The ALS challenges you to approach a problem differently
• Insightful and thought provoking
• Chance to visit and learn about different institutions
• Greater understanding of what is important to other professional service colleagues
• I have extended my network beyond my discipline
• The ALS provided me with a safe space to explore and develop my thinking in relation to real day to day
  leadership challenges. It was dynamic, stimulating and hugely beneficial
• New perspectives and challenge from fellow leaders enabled me to further develop my own leadership
• This experience will stay with me as one of the significant to date in terms of my personal and professional
• The best supportive network to reflect and challenge your thinking.

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