Shared Action Learning

Shared Action Learning (SAL) is a concept that can improve project effectiveness by focusing on areas that are often under-utilized, such as listening, collaborating, and critically analyzing various ideas. This process begins with connecting external group members like our WPI team with the community and other stakeholders to share perspectives and responsibilities. From there, the group and community move to planning and implementing collaborative ideas. The next two steps include observing and reporting the findings; this allows for the opportunity to understand from first-hand experiences and to share subsequent conclusions of those actions. Finally, the group reflects on their experiences to gain a deeper understanding. These steps are presented in a linear order, but some steps occur out of order or simultaneously. Learn more about Shared Action Learning as a concept under the “What is Shared Action Learning?” page.
This experience is unique because while many educational institutions focus on explicit models and theory, SAL addresses the implicit variables of working on relevant projects side-by-side with affected communities. Working with, as opposed to working for, a community leads to a deeper understanding of all intricacies relevant to community development, and ultimately can lead to greater acceptance and sustainability. This process also emphasizes understanding the limitations of a single idea, so such limitations can be overcome via partnership. In such a partnership, different perspectives offer multiple dimensions from which to consider ideas. With all teammates embracing this type of mentality, it is hoped there will be less conflict and a greater depth of understanding will be reached.