Methodology: Shared Action Learning

WPI students and co-researchers actively engaging each other in conversation

WPI students and co-researchers actively engaging each other in conversation

Shared Action Learning (SAL) is a technique used by the Cape Town Project Centre to bridge the cultural divide among the student researchers and community members through action oriented research.  Through this technique, the students can develop strong working relationships with their South African co-researchers while ensuring all stake holders are actively involved in the project.

The five reiterative steps of SAL are connect, plan, act, observe, and report while considering the larger social, cultural, and ecological context of the project.  These steps are happening simultaneously and continuously throughout the project.  Central to the process is the reflection, sharing, and learning of all participants.


Once we connected with the community leaders in Flamingo Crescent, we facilitated the brainstorming of community goals and planned our project objectives through SAL:


  1. Relate: Develop effective working relationships with community leaders, sponsors, and other partners
  2. Respect: Recognize the community’s voice at all points in the process in order to maintain our role in support of partners
  3. Integrate: Gather and document stakeholders’ insights and opinions to inform project decisions
  4. Design: Develop a formal spatial layout that takes into account infrastructural and social needs as well as the community members’ preferences
  5. Reinvest: Engage and reinvest the community in the upgrading process through collaboration in sustainable social initiatives
  6. Network: Assist the community in networking with the government, NGOs, and other potential stakeholders
  7. Implement: Secure funding and community involvement in the development of a crèche in the public space made available through reblocking
  8. Record: Provide an example for future reblocking efforts by recording insights gained during the course of the project

For more information on Shared Action Learning click here!