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Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2017) 'Action Learning in Postgraduate Research Training.' Action Learning: Research and Practice, 14 (1). pp. 83-95.

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This account of practice explores the benefits and challenges of using Action Learning (AL) with junior researchers. Findings are grounded in an AL set of six doctoral students, organised and convened by the author. The case study reveals the range of emotional and structural hurdles that PhD candidates typically face in completing their programme of study. AL’s streamlined process made space for set members to present themselves as whole persons and to thereby grapple with, and better manage, a wide range of real-life issues that were having direct impact on their academic performance. Set members expressed how participation reduced feelings of isolation and offered a valued space to reflect on their situation. They explored root causes of stress, anxiety, or dips in productivity; strategized plausible actions for overcoming problems; and identified opportunities. The evidence presented in this account strongly supports the proposal that AL be made a core component of research training programmes. In the conclusion, the author reasons that institutional investment would pay back with dividends: AL cultivates peer-support groups that consequently reduce dependence on academic supervisors, student counselling, and other costly and overburdened support services. Perhaps most crucially, AL incites individuals to take responsibility for their own development and learning: a ‘transferrable skill’ for achieving success in any endeavour.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Action Learning, postgraduate training, peer support, shared learning, problem solving
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
ISSN: 14767333
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2017 16:25

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