Training and Technical Assistance in Innovative Research Techniques

Based on RCLA’s expertise in action learning methodologies and peer-learning, we provide training programs on various participatory, action research, and facilitation methodologies to help practitioners and organizations hone the leadership skills that are vital to making change in their fields of work.

Action learning methodologies offer a process that enables public service leaders to take their most pressing questions and turn them into systemic inquiries with peers facing similar quandaries. These processes are designed specifically to draw on the expertise of individuals confronting these leadership challenges on a daily basis in order to find relevant and workable solutions.

One of RCLA's signature methodologies – Cooperative Inquiry (CI) – enables a group of people with a common question about their practice to engage in cycles of action and reflection together. Participants become co-researchers as they together define the central questions they will explore and engage in reflection and meaning-making to interpret the findings in ways that offer practical solutions.

CI encourages participants to use their own experiences as the main sources of inquiry. Further, they are encouraged to not only explore common questions and challenges, but also to collectively develop and “test” new strategies and methods that address these challenges within their organizational contexts. These experiments also become sources of “data” and learning that feed subsequent cycles of action, reflection and documentation.

With the support of an expert facilitator to help the group make the most of the experience, members repeat this action-reflection cycle several times until they feel they have successfully addressed their concern.

Key outcomes of the process include the creation of new practice-grounded knowledge, insights about how to approach related work challenges, personal growth and expanded leadership capacity, and strengthened relationships among group members

Training and technical assistance in these action learning processes help groups incorporate ongoing learning and leadership development into their organizational cultures.