Peer Networks and Social Capital Development
Peer learning is an increasingly important component of personal and professional development. For example, it is common to associate peer learning communities with leadership and management development programs. Members are peers in that they come together as equals to support each other’s learning.
However, long-lasting learning does not occur merely by gathering people together. Learning must be intentionally designed as an outcome from that gathering. The hallmark of Action Learning is that it is intentionally designed to focus on actions and learning at the same time.
When people attend conferences and seminars, they often report that the most useful outcome was the networks of peers that they developed. Networks can be very powerful means for sharing information and materials to get something done – and learn at the same time. Again, that outcome must be intentionally designed – as it is in Action Learning.
A particularly powerful customization of Action Learning is to cascade groups, where members of an initial group form their own group later on, and so on. Over time, each employee is a member of a powerful and highly accessible network. These networks can deeply develop the employees -- the social capital -- across the organization.
We customize Action Learning to produce powerful and highly accessible peer networks for learning.
The peer exchange affirms both the professional and personal experience of being an executive director. "
— Sharon Johnson, Community Action for Suburban Hennepin, Hopkins, Minnesota