Sunday 8 November

Evening session

Dr Chivonne Algeo
Monash University (Australia)
Paper presentation 1
Flying the plane while building it: Transitioning to online during COVID-19
Genevieve Cother & Bill Woodworth
Business Action Learning Tasmania (Australia)
Workshop 1
Experimenting with self-managed action learning: A massive online action learning event

Dr Chivonne Algeo

Monash University
Business School

Flying the Plane while Building it: Transitioning to Online during COVID-19

Delivering a degree in any context is at times challenging, mostly rewarding, and sometimes, just sometimes, completely spontaneous. The rapid pace at which COVID-19 forced our academic team to adjust, while in ‘mid-flight’, our residential-style delivery of a Masters of Project Management degree at a leading Australian university, to a fully online medium took us all into unknown territory. The reliance on quickly developing a support network of peers was evident when we responded to the urgency of moving from on campus to online delivery: students who had studied together for more than one semester and had developed their peer networks adjusted to this “new-world order”. However, those who had just commenced their studies had no opportunity to build the levels of trust with their peers, and were the most challenged when responding to this change. While ensuring the students were able to engage with each other in this “blended” delivery mode, my attention also needed to be focused on supporting the academic team. How, the academics would ask, will we get the teams to work together when some students are on campus and some are participating remotely. In this unstable environment, where Government and university policies were being written as we were delivering content, the academic team used a participatory action research approach to put in place a more open and inclusive approach to working with our students. How did we survive, and even thrive, in this chaotic environment: we learnt to trust each other; we knew we were “all in this together”; we learnt what it was to be part of a community, albeit an online community; and we adapted, and continue to do so.

The audience will be given a map to plot a future where the delivery of university programs and student engagement rely on a blended mode of in-class and synchronous technological platforms.


Genevieve Cother


Bill Woodworth

Business Action Learning Tasmania

Experimenting with self-managed action learning: A Massive Online Action Learning Event

Professor Reg Revans, who coined the term ‘action learning’, was ambivalent about the role of the action learning facilitator. Revans conceded that action learning requires a “supernumerary” to initiate action learning within an organisation. However, he was also clear in his belief that the facilitator should withdraw as soon as possible to allow the set to become self-managing.

In the mid-1990s, Tom Bourner developed a model for self-managed action learning, which identified a number of factors contributing to effective action learning. This included specific skills requirements, set management tools, and an agreed set of values and underpinning beliefs held by the action learning set. Bourner’s model was developed in response to the real and perceived notion that action learning is expensive and labour intensive in comparison to other types of professional learning. Self-management makes action learning highly accessible and promotes the development of complex skills that can be applied in other contexts.

In this session, we will present an inaugurating overview of self-managed action learning to the attending audience. Attendees will be allocated to groups of 4-6 people and directed to online break out rooms. Experienced action learning facilitators will be available for questioning as each group attempts to follow the self-managed action learning process. The sets will reflect on the outcomes of their attempts and identify areas for improvement in the next round. Between each attempt the sets will regroup and share their learning with the wider cohort.