Action and Research: Challenging teaching and learning assumptions in an executive development programme

Kelliher, Felicity and Byrne, Sean (2008) Action and Research: Challenging teaching and learning assumptions in an executive development programme. [Conference Proceedings]


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore an Action Research (AR) Tutor Initiative, established to provide a collegial approach to learner facilitation, and enable a research informed model of practice in an executive development programme.Programme Delivery: The programme in question – a Masters in the Management of Change – is built on the principles of experiential learning and critical thinking, and has a distinct action approach to curriculum delivery. It seeks to hone reflective practice among participants, each of whom is either a senior executive or business owner. The programme ethos is to help participants to improve business performance through conscious intervention designed under the tutelage of a trained AR tutor. The tutor challenge is therefore to provide these executives with the knowledge and confidence to influence change, and facilitate professional development through the application of the programme curriculum in practice.Methodology: The AR tutor initiative was run in conjunction with an AR module, both delivered by the AR programme team, who are also the authors of this paper. The authors established criteria relating to the development and transfer of knowledge under an AR mantel, and applied these findings to the programme design, delivery and analysis.Findings: The tutor programme enabled cross-pollination of Action Learning and Action Research perspectives, and strengthened the interaction between practitioner and academic, and among academics themselves, in this environment. Furthermore, the early involvement of tutors informed the AR module and larger research programme, and facilitated a matching of research interests between practitioner and tutor.Contribution to knowledge: The AR tutor programme facilitated deeper learning by encouraging action-reflection among and across all contributors (students, tutors, and programme managers). It also attempts to reconcile the tension between proponents of Action Learning and Action Research, showing that these can co-exist with benefit to each party.

View Item