Sense, Andrew J., 2005, Facilitating conversational learning in a project team practice, Journal of Workplace Learning, 17(3), 178-193.
Purpose – This paper seeks to provide an empirical insight into the facilitation dilemmas for conversational learning in a project team environment.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper is an outcome of a participative action research process into the dynamics of situated learning activity in a case study project team. As part of their organizational change project (which included an explicit project goal of developing their collective and individual learning competencies) the case study project team initiated and undertook a series of participative “learning-how-to-learn” workshops. These workshops were “learning spaces” that were centred on engaging “conversations” to both initiate and promote interpersonal understanding and critical reflective practice between the participants.
Findings – In evaluating the discontinuities experienced between the planned phases and activities in these “learning space” workshop processes, three key lessons that the participants learnt about facilitating conversational learning in this setting are identified and elaborated upon.
Research limitations/implications – This paper is based upon a case study of the learning activities of one project team. The opportunity exists to repeat the study in different projects and other group settings.
Practical implications – This paper offers practical guidance to learning professionals and learning practitioners in how to provide a receptive conversational context for learning between people.
Originality/value – This paper illustrates the power of conversational approaches to nurturing learning activity. Furthermore, the lessons identified constitute heuristics to pragmatically aid conversational learning amongst people in project team “learning spaces” and in other similar group settings, where conversations are considered core to the learning development process.