Action learning is a powerful strategy that combines strategy consulting and learning support to help teams build their skills as they work together to solve practical challenges. At CHS we have used action learning strategies to help hundreds of organizations accomplish their goals. The results can be seen in more effective teams, stronger organizations, and greater community impact.

Learn more about our action learning supports below, and contact us to discuss the possibilities.

Action learning is a repeatable, team-based process that can by applied by a single team, an organization, or multiple organizations in a collaborative project.  Action learning teams engage in a five-phase process that can be repeated over time to create continuous improvement.

  • Focus. The process begins with a focus for learning and action to solve a real-world challenge. The challenge could be a problem to be solved, or an opportunity to be developed.
  • Reflect. The process continues with participants reflecting on their own experience, insight, and ideas, and sharing their perspectives as partners in the project.
  • Explore.  In this phase participants explore possibilities for action based on their own ideas as well as promising practices from the field.
  • Plan.  Having explored the possibilities, the next phase is to plan an approach with defined objectives, actions, and roles.
  • Apply.  In this phase participants apply the approach with a flexible mindset, testing and refining as needed to optimize results.

By following this action learning process, teams are better able to collaborate, innovate, and accelerate improvement. The results of action learning can be seen in stronger teams, better organizational performance, and greater community impact.

At CHS we provide strategy consulting and learning support to help organizations accomplish their goals through action learning.  We can help you:

  • Define the focus
  • Design the approach
  • Engage participants
  • Facilitate action learning sessions
  • Provide coaching to help participants clarify goals and solve challenges
  • Provide research on promising practices
  • Develop data to support project planning and evaluation
  • Create tools for applying promising practices
  • Deliver or facilitate training in selected topics, using additional subject matter experts as needed
  • Provide technical assistance to help participants apply tools and solve challenges

CHS can support action learning for a single organization, a community collaborative, or a state or national collaborative. We facilitate action learning in a variety of formats depending on the project aims and context.  Formats include:

Action Learning Workshops. Action learning workshops are focused sessions in which participants engage in rapid learning and design to solve specific challenges.  Workshops can be conducted virtually or onsite, and may range from 90 minutes to most of a day depending on the content.

Action Learning Programs. Action learning programs include a series of workshops for topics that require more than a single session, plus strategy coaching and technical assistance between the workshops.  The timeframe is typically a few weeks or months.

Action Learning Collaboratives. In an action learning collaborative, teams from multiple organizations come together to learn and apply effective strategies for achieving shared goals. A collaborative typically includes a series of learning sessions supplemented with strategy coaching, technical assistance, tools, and online resources.   The timeframe for a learning collaborative can run from a few months to a year of longer.

Action Learning Networks.  While action learning collaboratives are focused on engaging teams around common goals, action learning networks are designed to engage diverse individuals in exchanging insights and ideas in specific topic areas.  For example, elevation is an action learning network for individuals interested in community health innovation.

CHS has helped hundreds of nonprofits build stronger organizations and create healthier communities through action learning projects.  Each project is tailored to provide the right combination of training, tools, technical assistance, and strategy coaching to accomplish the goals of the organizations involved.  Some example action learning topics are outlined below.

Capacity Building Topics

We have used action learning strategies to help organizations build capacity for:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Community needs assessment
  • Community value analysis
  • Community collaboration
  • Community research
  • Program design
  • Program evaluation
  • Quality improvement
  • Design thinking
  • Positive teamwork
  • Positive leadership
  • Patient centered medical home
  • Reducing low-value health care
  • Positive leadership

Health Improvement Topics

We have used action learning strategies to help organizations improve:

  • Cardiovascular care
  • Child health promotion
  • Children’s behavioral health
  • Chronic care models
  • Early childhood screening
  • Health equity strategies
  • Home visiting
  • HPV vaccination
  • Integrated care models
  • Low-value care reduction
  • Medicaid expansion
  • Mental health services
  • Oral health
  • Rural telehealth
  • Senior services
  • School health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Substance use services
  • Youth violence prevention

Visit our project examples page to view examples of action learning projects addressing a wide range of topics.

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