The work of creating healthier communities begins with strong organizations that have the capacity to create positive community impact. At CHS we use an approach called action learning to help organizations build capacity for accomplishing their objectives. Over the past 25 years we have used action learning formats to help hundreds of organizations develop their talent and strengthen their capacity. The results can be seen in individual learning, team development, organizational performance, and community impact.

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

In today’s organizations people have to learn rapidly and continuously to keep up with the pace of change.  They need practical supports that can help them solve challenges right now, without waiting weeks or months for traditional training or consulting programs that might not be responsive to their needs.

Action learning is a powerful strategy for capacity building because it combines tailored supports for learning and action into one integrated program.  In an action learning project, participants define the objectives and build their professional skills as they take action to solve practical challenges in their work setting.  This is accomplished through a guided experience of action coaching, applied learning support, and participant knowledge sharing. The results can be seen in better performance and stronger capacity.

Action learning has been widely used in various formats in all kinds of organizational settings across the United States and the world. At CHS we have applied action learning to help individuals and teams in health care, human services, public health, and beyond.

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 Health Improvement Topics
  • 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
  • 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

CHS can support action learning for a single organization, an association program, a community initiative, or a state or national collaborative. Whatever the setting, we tailor the format to fit the participants and the program objectives.

Format Elements
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 multiple workshop events backed with action coaching, technical assistance, tools, and online learning supports.
  • The timeframe could be from weeks to months depending on the participants and objectives.
Action Learning Collaboratives
  • Action learning collaboratives engage multiple organizations in working together to accomplish a shared vision or goal for a community health improvement.
  • A collaborative typically includes a series of learning sessions supplemented with strategy coaching, technical assistance, tools, and online learning supports.
  • The timeframe for a learning collaborative can run from a few months to a year of longer.
Action Learning Networks
  • Action learning networks are virtual learning networks designed to individuals or teams in professional learning across a range of topic areas that can evolve over time in response to member needs.
  • For example, elevation is an action learning network for individuals interested in community innovation for health improvement.

At CHS we have pioneered to use of virtual action learning to add even more value to this proven approach.

  • Like traditional action learning, virtual action learning is tailored to address the specific objectives of the participants.
  • The difference is in the virtual delivery of learning supports and action supports to help participants accomplish their goals.
  • By using smart technology to deliver supports with a personal touch, we can deliver action learning programs directly to the workplace without asking organizations to spend extra time and money for travel or onsite consulting activities.
  • This innovative approach allows us to deliver cost-efficient programs that help participants accomplish their goals for individual learning, team development, organizational performance, and community impact.

Online Video Conference Call stock image

Whatever the focus for Action Learning may be, we use a proven, ten-step approach to tailor each project to the particular needs of the participants.  The basic steps are outlined below.

In this step…

We can help you…

1. Focus

Select a focus for action learning

2. Engage

Engage participants in defining the objectives and approach

3. Assess

Assess particular needs and interests of participants

4. Design

Design the program including objectives, learning supports, and consulting supports

5. Develop

Develop content, engage subject matter experts, and delivery methods

6. Implement

Implement and optimize the program based on participant feedback

7. Evaluate

Evaluate the program based on objectives for individual and organizational impact

8. Capture

Capture key knowledge assets for future use

9. Scale

Refine and scale the program for the next cohort of users

10. Spread

Spread the learning with a next-level program


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

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