FGL for organisational development: Briefing note

This approach is an adaptation of Action Learning Sets to the setting of strategy development and organisational learning.

Action Learning Sets are excellent for personal development and are part of the LFHE’s Top Management Programme for senior managers in HE. However, in seeking to use the approach for this project, we recognised that it needed modifying when the objective is to share learning at the institutional level. The outcome was Facilitated Group Learning (FGL).

The benefits

Having trialled some initial modifications, the project partners were confident that the approach was providing a valuable alternative to other peer group workshops in that:

  • Giving one institution the spotlight for a fixed period ensures that they are able to bring forward the issues that they regard as important, without interruption.
  • There is no (implicit) assumption that anyone in the group has “the answer” and there is space to explore experiences and develop different ideas.
  • This combination of focus and openness leads to a better quality of understanding of issues and alternative approaches.

The basic principles

The underlying principles and process established by the project apply to other institutions who may wish to use this approach.

  • The focus for each session is not on an individual ‘Issue Holder’ but on one of the participating HEIs.
  • The topics addressed are not personal but institutional.
  • All sessions are operated under the Chatham House Rule.
  • The role of the facilitator is to help the group to keep to the allocated timing and to focus on the learning potential of what is discussed.
  • The participating institutions commit to the attendance of a senior manager, typically a DVC, as a ‘permanent member’ of the group.

View full briefing note (PDF 90 KB)

Topics: Leadership.

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