What is WAL

Work-Applied Learning: Defined

Work-Applied Learning (WAL) is an effective, practical process of team-focused learning, relevant to the immediate workplace or community setting, and designed to promote innovation, continuous improvement and effect continuing positive change in those settings.

The WAL process is an extension of the Work-Based Learning (WBL) approach. Whereas WBL is focused on individual and team learning to create and apply knowledge in their workplace, WAL focuses on organisational learning and knowledge creation, their projects as well as individual and team learning. This has a flow on effect improving the manager’s contribution to their immediate team and also the wider organisation.

A comparison of WBL and WAL is shown in Illustration 1 below:

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WAL is grounded in the fused Action Research method and Action Learning process (ARAL) and Reflective Practice; and integrates the processes of organisational learning and organisational knowledge management, individual and team learning to create organisational change and innovation in a systematic and conscious way. The diagram below shows the flow and phases from individual learning to team learning to organisational learning and to organisational knowledge creation and management, resulting in organisational change. Illustration 2 captures this.

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Work-Applied Learning for Change

The following illustration 3 is an extension of WBL to WAL and the learning and change through the ARAL cycles. It is the addition of the ARAL approach which leads to not individual learning by the managers and team learning but also organisational learning and change as the managers and their teams plan, act, observe, reflect, evaluate and validate Work-Based projects through the ARAL cycles.

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The following illustration 4 shows the WAL learning process formula the participants undergo as they go through individual, team, organisational learning and the creation of knowledge and organisational change which has been depicted in the previous illustration 3.

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This WAL learning formula is used by participants as they go through a cyclical creative thinking and learning process where they:

  • Critically reflect on a problem in their workplace;
  • Question (Q) how to solve the problem and the programme (P1) to be undertaken to address the problem;
  • Reflect and apply the relevant knowledge (K) (e.g. any MBA subject, and the WAL process of Action Learning and Reflective Practice, Facilitative Leadership, Work-Based Learning, Continuous Improvement or Project Management) to provide possible solutions to the programme; and
  • Achieve programme performance outcomes (P2) which include learning, programme, process and project outcomes. When the WAL formula and process takes place in an organisational setting, there is individual as well as team learning including organisational  learning, the creation of knowledge and organisational change.

Work-Applied Learning (WAL) incorporates and builds upon key concepts and methodologies from the following trusted learning and research techniques:

  • Work-Based Learning
  • Action Research
  • Action Learning
  • Reflective Practice
  • Organisational Learning
  • Organisational Knowledge Management

WAL Research

WAL Research uses the methods of Action Research, Action Learning, Reflective Practice and Case Research.

Read about WAL Research

WAL Consultancy

WAL Consultants work with teams on projects, with each team member gaining new knowledge for further application. The outcome is innovation and continuous improvement in projects and knowledge while building an enhanced organisational culture.

Read about WAL Consultancy

Contact GCWAL

Learn more about Work-Applied Learning (WAL) certification, consultancy and other services

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