action learning sets advantages and disadvantages

Are you interested in understanding the benefits and drawbacks of action learning sets? In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of this powerful learning approach, helping you gain a comprehensive understanding of what it entails. Action learning sets, a popular method in professional development and education settings, offer a unique way for individuals to learn and solve real-world problems collectively. Let’s delve into the advantages and disadvantages of action learning sets to gain a deeper insight into this valuable learning technique.

Opportunity for diverse perspectivesLack of individual control
Enhanced problem-solving abilitiesPotential for groupthink
Collaborative learning environmentTime-consuming process
Development of interpersonal skillsResistance from participants
Encourages reflection and self-awarenessUnequal participation


1. Opportunity for diverse perspectives:

Action learning sets bring together individuals from different backgrounds, experiences, and expertise. This diversity allows for a broad range of perspectives and insights, enriching the learning process. Participants can tap into various viewpoints, enhancing their critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities.

2. Enhanced problem-solving abilities:

Through action learning sets, participants have the opportunity to tackle real-life challenges and work together to find solutions. This collaborative problem-solving approach helps individuals develop their analytical and creative thinking skills. Moreover, action learning sets encourage participants to explore innovative solutions and experiment with different approaches.

3. Collaborative learning environment:

Action learning sets foster a collaborative and supportive learning environment. Participants work together to address individual and collective challenges. They can share knowledge, experiences, and resources, creating a synergistic learning community. This environment promotes open dialogue, active listening, and mutual respect among participants.

4. Development of interpersonal skills:

Action learning sets provide a great platform for participants to refine their interpersonal skills. They learn effective communication, collaboration, and teamwork. By engaging in open discussions and seeking feedback from others, individuals can improve their emotional intelligence, empathy, and conflict resolution abilities.

5. Encourages reflection and self-awareness:

Being part of an action learning set encourages participants to reflect on their actions, decisions, and impact. Through regular feedback and discussions, individuals gain a deeper understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and personal growth opportunities. Action learning sets create an environment for self-reflection, leading to enhanced self-awareness and continuous development.


1. Lack of individual control:

In an action learning set, participants must be willing to relinquish some individual control. The decision-making process is collective, and consensus is often sought. This can be challenging for individuals accustomed to having complete control over their work or decisions.

2. Potential for groupthink:

In a highly cohesive action learning set, there is a risk of groupthink. Group members may conform to a dominant viewpoint or avoid critical evaluation of ideas, leading to a lack of innovative thinking and diverse perspectives. Facilitators need to be mindful of this risk and encourage open-mindedness and constructive dissent.

3. Time-consuming process:

Action learning sets can be time-consuming, requiring commitment and dedication from participants. The process involves multiple meetings, discussions, and reflections, often extending over several weeks or months. This may pose challenges for individuals with busy schedules or tight deadlines.

4. Resistance from participants:

Not all individuals may be willing or open to engaging in an action learning set. Some participants might resist sharing their experiences, seeking feedback, or collaborating with others. Resistance can hinder the effectiveness of the group process and limit the learning potential.

5. Unequal participation:

Inaction learning sets, there is a possibility of unequal participation by the members. Some individuals may dominate the discussions, while others remain quiet or are sidelined. To ensure equal involvement and engagement, facilitators should promote an inclusive environment and encourage participation from all members.


Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of action learning sets can bring several benefits. Firstly, it allows individuals and organizations to make informed decisions regarding the implementation of this learning approach. By recognizing the benefits, individuals can leverage action learning sets to enhance their problem-solving abilities, stimulate creativity, and foster collaboration.

Moreover, being aware of the potential drawbacks helps participants and facilitators address and mitigate them effectively. For instance, facilitators can implement strategies to promote diversity of thought, manage group dynamics, and ensure active participation by all members. This understanding also empowers participants to navigate the challenges of action learning sets, making the most out of the learning experience.

By embracing the advantages and overcoming the disadvantages, action learning sets can become a valuable tool for professional development, organizational learning, and problem-solving. With a strong understanding of its benefits and drawbacks, individuals can harness the power of action learning sets to drive personal and collective growth.