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The Action Learning model that underpins the 20/20 MDS®

The Action Learning Model

The 20/20 MDS® is an Action Learning centered approach, meaning that learning is most useful and the most efficient when it deals with real issues, problems and challenges that individuals face in their everyday lives, especially their working lives. Action Learning is a much more integrated and sophisticated approach that differs significantly from traditional learning methods.

Classroom based Workplace based
Fixed/Set curriculum Open/Flexible curriculum
Individual orientation Group/Team orientation
Inputs are key Outputs are key
Knowledge matters Action/results matter
Focused on solving puzzles Focused on solving problems
Teach people the right answers Teach people the right questions
Passive Active
Generally closed minded Generally open minded
Learning occurs individually Learning occurs individually and collectively
1Past orientation Present and future orientation
Downward expression of certainty Upward expression of doubt
Cost of investment Return from investment required
Internally focused Externally focused
Converges to a single best option Diverges towards greater options

As this chart indicates, perhaps the most significant difference in relation to Action Learning is the fact that it assumes that learning is most effective when it relates to real and practical issues and what is then “studied” is flexibly assembled on a flexible “just-in-time” basis. In other words, an Action Learning approach is more interested in what works in practice than what may have worked in the past (in theory or in practice). This is not to say that past knowledge is not important but that it should only be drawn upon when relevant and applicable, when related to present issues.

The other key factor in relation to an Action Learning approach is that it is predomwinantly a team based system or collectively orientated system. As a consequence, learning is best achieved in a learning set or a group of people all interested in the same broad subject area, topic, issue, challenge or general goal. This allows each person to learn both individually and collectively as part of the set and to share ideas at every stage.

Click here to review the Action-Learning cycle that underpins the 20/20 MDS® system.

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