Public policy

Action training, a pedagogical modality that is reinventing itself

Published on 09 December 2020 Read 25 min

Today, action-training is experiencing popularity resurgence, to the point of becoming an essential part of training catalogs. This designates an educational process during which the learner studies his or her own actions or experiences to improve performance. This particularity makes it a technique that can be deployed in any organization, in a collective, in a large group or a SME, and on all imaginable themes. In this article, Alcimed discusses three reasons that explain the success of this type of training today.

The origins of action-training

Action-training is a concept born in the 1940s in Wales, on the initiative of Reg W. Revans, a former English civil servant, who had noticed that his company’s executives learned more from each other in real-life situations than by attending lectures. Without knowing it, Reg W. Revans was laying the first building blocks for the recognition of work as a subject of training. A first step that would revolutionize training and lead to the creation in France of the Validation of Acquired Experience (VAE) or the AFEST (Action de Formation En Situation de Travail).

Action-training: achieve to learn better

Action Learning is based on the principle that learning is faster and more effective when learners take part and are actors in the training. Edgar Dale, an American Professor, and researcher in education, has theorized this principle with his famous “cone of learning”, which represents the capacities resulting from each type of learning. According to him, a classic lecture would allow to retain between 20 and 30% of the content presented, while an action training would allow to retain between 70 and 90% of it.

Training courses based on the analysis of real cases

The action-training mixes theory and practice, implementing precise actions to achieve the organization’s objectives. The training alternates between phases of reflection and phases of action or case study. Projects or problems then become the starting point of the learning process.

Concretely, learners are confronted with real-life situations through role-playing, videos or case studies. They are then guided to project themselves into the situation and to propose possible solutions. In some cases, the pedagogical material is even elaborated in collaboration with the structures concerned to address their problems.

For example, an action-training program for professionals in medico-social establishments can be developed using video recordings of real-life situations (interactions between professionals and patients, discussion workshops with caregivers or families, etc.). These videos are then watched with the learners who collectively analyze the situation, questioning the motivations at work, the skills mobilized, the risks, etc. by freely confronting their points of view. Learners will then be better able to question their operating methods, to provide solutions, or even to discuss them again during subsequent training sessions.

A teaching method that continues to reinvent itself thanks to digital learning

Since the 1980s, action training has become an essential modality, but today it is finding an opportunity to reinvent itself thanks to digital learning. Indeed, during action training, the learner is led to mobilize many skills that he or she has not yet mastered. Access to libraries of pedagogical content allows them to have free access to these resources in a complementary way to the training time, and in coherence with their needs.

Action training is therefore a revolutionary training device of the eighties that is being modernized today thanks to digital technology. It is with this in mind that, at Alcimed, we support all types of organizations in the construction and deployment of innovative ad hoc action-trainings, combining practical cases and theory, digital and face-to-face.

About the author
, Project Manager in Alcimed’s Innovation & Public Policy team in France

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