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ERIC Number: EJ855367
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jul
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 68
ISSN: ISSN-1476-7333
Issues in Action Learning: A Critical Realist Interpretation
Burgoyne, John
Action Learning: Research and Practice, v6 n2 p149-161 Jul 2009
The purpose of this paper is to argue that the perspective of "critical realism" has considerable potential for moving forward the theory and practice of action learning. The paper addresses three questions: (1) Does action learning emphasise the individual or the collective? (2) Can action learning be thought of as critical, but should it also be the subject of criticism? (3) What gets carried forward from action learning by way of learning? Critical realism is argued to be illuminative of these issues; this involves dealing with ontological questions--what is there out there to learn about--as well as epistemological ones - how can this be learned about. It also involves seeing the world as an open system with emergent properties rather than the predictable machine of the positivist approach and the "nothing but a sea of meaning" of the extreme social constructionist approach. The conclusions are that: (1) Yes, it can, and should, focus on both. Individual and organisational foci (one form of the individual-collective question) for action learning are compatible and reconcilable, though often with difficulty. (2) Yes to critical approach of and from action learning, which is its true intent. Suggestions are made on how to do this in an ultimately constructive way. (3) There are several answers to this, the ability to learn, "mechanisms" that can but may not necessarily work in future situations, depending on circumstance and "state of play" information. (Contains 4 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A