ABC of Action Learning

Revans, R. (2011)

Reviewer: Steven M Whitehouse – Principal IT Manager

It is readily accepted that Reg Revans was beyond doubt the ‘father of Action Learning’. Many of his early ideas were developed around learning at the National Coal Board (NCB UK) prior to him joining Manchester University and then moving to Belgium before returning to the UK in later life. His ideas on learning have since been developed further by The Revans Centre for Learning and Research at Manchester Business School and there are now Action Learning networks and associations all around the world.

'Learning involves doing…Since action learning suggests that we may best master whatever unknown challenge appears by working with others who seek to triumph in the same way, its programmes should be collectively designed and launched by those who hope to profit from them.'

Reg Revans based his theories of Action Learning on 30 years of work and observation.


  • Preface
  • Editor's note
  • The characteristic assumptions of action learning
  • Essential logistics
  • The influence of top management
  • The philosophy of action learning
  • What action learning is not
  • Some experiences of launching action learning
  • The enterprise as a learning system
  • Annotated bibliography
  • Further information
  • Index

The A.B.C. of Action Learning contains excellent advice/guidance on the practical models for launching action learning programs, including several useful case studies in practice. Revans was indeed a man before his time who became a man for the time and his thinking prevails with a strength and vigour well beyond his demise in 2003 aged 96. The reader of this book is well rewarded as its re-publication could not have come at a better time as today perhaps more than ever, people need to remain open to new learning as a means of dealing with constant change – a highly recommended read!

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