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Action Learning Sets

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Action Learning is a learning process for working on stubborn and complex challenges in a collaborative way. It combines the learning cycle of action, reaction, planning, new actions with the power of small groups.

These small groups use their collective experience to solve problems encountered by set members. Action learning works on the premise that the practice wisdom of set members often results in better solutions than outside expert interventions. Each participant in an action learning set can rely on their fellow members for a network of support when they encounter problems, and in turn lend their own expertise to their colleagues’ problems.

As part of What Works, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) is facilitating a series of action learning sets for those working with children and young people.

What Works Action Learning Sets are being delivered nationwide from October 2019 and are open to professionals working with children, young people and their families. This programme of action learning sets will run on a once-off basis for one year.

Set members are drawn from those working closely with children, young people and their families, including organisations in receipt of grant funding. What Works Action Learning Sets provide a creative space for those in children and young people’s services to meet one another, and to establish professional networks.

The pilot What Works Action Learning Set was formed in July 2019, consisting of Innovation Fund grantees.

Following this pilot, DCYA contracted an independent facilitator to deliver action learning sets in a number of Irish regions.  Action Learning Sets commenced in Dublin and the West (Carrick-on-Shannon) in 2019;  further learning sets will begin in February 2020 in the Midlands (Athlone) and the South (Cork).

Places on these sets are open to all professionals working with children, young people and their families in Ireland.

For information about the What Works Action Learning Set in your region, contact