Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


*pedagogy, Social issues

Publication Details

Handbook published by Department of Health and Children, 2015.


This action learning handbook draws from the experiences of the Kerry Children’s and Young People’s Services Committee (CYPSC) Working Groups who engaged in an action learning intervention to improve collaboration, between October 2013 and June 2014. The intervention was designed by Dr Denise O’Leary and Dr Clare Rigg from the Institute of Technology Tralee. If you are a member of another county’s Children’s and Young People’s Services Committee Working Group, this handbook will provide you with the information and tools to implement a similar action learning intervention in order to:

  • Improve collaboration within your county’s CYPSC structure
  • Improve collaboration and embed collaborative practice within your working group
  • Learn from others and facilitate their learning
  • Make greater use of reflection in CYPSC working group meetings

Your working group can use the information to examine aspects of collaboration within the group or within the county CYPSC structure. You will choose problems/issues you are struggling with, look at them from a different angle, reflect on them, test your assumptions, come up with possible new approaches and then experiment, by applying these approaches to see how well they work. Action learning can be used to develop the capacity of individuals to better adapt to change and to develop the skills of individuals to engage effectively with others. So, engaging in action learning will encourage you to work with other CYPSC members in a different and more collaborative way. Feedback in Figure 1, from members of Kerry CYPSC working groups highlights the ways in which action learning helped them work differently. As is highlighted by the feedback, action learning created a time and space for critical questioning and reflection which allowed the working groups to explore group processes and outputs, and to take actions to improve them.

Figure 1: Feedback - Creating a Time and Place for Reflection and Critical Analysis

“Action learning activity in working groups has given the group a way to reflect and interrogate the group processes, the focus of the work and to enhance group interaction and working relationships”

“It has allowed us to step back a bit and look more in depth at what is really being achieved”

I found the sessions challenging but productive. The sessions highlighted that asking the difficult question is necessary to move work on.”