ECU Web Unit Outline
Full Unit Outline - Enrolment Approved Friday, 4 December 2009
This unit outline may be updated and amended immediately prior to semester. To ensure you have the correct outline, please check it again at the beginning of semester.
UNIT TITLE Action Learning Project
MODE OF DELIVERY DETAILS This unit is available in both on-campus and off-campus modes. Much of the learning will be self-directed ensuring individual needs and interests are appropriately addressed. Participants will normally work collaboratively with relevant colleagues in their own workplaces in the design and implementation of projects. All participants will also share learning with a cohort-based community within the online environment.


This is an experiential learning unit in which participants will undertake a project that addresses a significant teaching, learning or assessment issue. Projects will normally be undertaken in an authentic tertiary teaching and learning environment, and will be associated with enhancing student learning through improvements in teaching, learning support, leadership, or the implementation of the strategic initiatives of a tertiary institution. Participants will develop an understanding of action learning as an approach to change, as well as practical skills relevant to the implementation of teaching and learning improvements. Projects will be developed within relevant communities of practice and participants will be encouraged to learn and to share their learning through engagement with professional networks, mentors and collaboration with others.


On completion of this unit, participants should have:

  1. developed a better understanding of, and effected a program of improvement in, a significant teaching, learning or assessment matter associated with their own classes or with the strategic initiatives of their school; and
  2. made a significant contribution to the quality of teaching, learning or assessment associated with their own classes and with the strategic initiatives of their school.
  • Theory and practice of action learning
  • Theory and practice of mentoring
  • Self assessment of professional learning needs
  • Critical reflection on the effectiveness of teaching, learning and assessment in tertiary settings
  • Design, development, implementation and evaluation of a teaching, learning and/or assessment improvement plan
    This unit is shaped around a practical, authentic, workplace project designed to meet the specific needs of individual participants and their workplaces. Much of the learning will be self-directed, supported by collaborative professional and workplace networks. All participants will also share learning with a cohort-based community within the university online learning environment. Workshops and online interactions will provide help to participants developing their understanding of key ideas and processes associated with conducting an action learning project, and working effectively with mentors and support in planning, implementing and evaluating their projects. Attention will be given to helping participants share the outcomes of their projects through professionally relevant communications such as workplace reports, workshops, conference presentations, and publishable papers.

    The following graduate attributes will be developed in this unit:


    • Ability to communicate
    • Ability to work in teams
    • Critical appraisal skills
    • Ability to generate ideas
    • Cross-cultural and international outlook


    Grading Schema 4
    Students please note: The marks and grades received by students on assessments may be subject to further moderation. All marks and grades are to be considered provisional until endorsed by the relevant Board of Examiners.
    The unit will be assessed on a Pass/Fail basis, and will require the submission of an appropriate report on the action learning project. This will normally be presented in a form suitable for sharing with a wider audience, such as a conference presentation or publishable paper.


    On-Campus Assessment




    Action Learning Project

    Pass / Fail



    Online Assessment




    Action Learning Project

    Pass / Fail

    There is no set text for this unit. There are many useful resources readily available on the Internet and workplace, academic and public libraries. A range of illustrative readings is also available to enrolled students from ECU library through E-Reserve.
    The texts listed below are illustrative of the kinds of resources participants may find helpful. Other rich resources are available that refer to specific issues or discipline areas that will be relevant to individuals, and these should be researched as part of the unit learning.
    Bamber, R., Trowler, P., Saunders, M., & Knight, P. (2009). Enhancing learning, teaching, assessment and curriculum in higher education. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.
    Biggs, J., & Tan, C. (2007). Teaching for quality learning at university: What the student does. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.
    Brockbank, A. (2007). Facilitating reflective learning in higher education. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.
    McGill, I., & Beaty, L. (2001). Action learning: A guide for professional, management & educational development. London: Kogan Page.
    Marquardt, M. (2005). Action learning in action. London: Jaico Publishing House.
    O'Neil, J., & Marsick, V. (2007). Understanding action learning. Boston: American Management Association.
    Pask, R. (2007). Mentoring and coaching: A handbook for education professionals. Maidenhead: McGraw International (UK) Ltd.
    Raeline, J. R. (2008). Work-based learning: Bridging knowledge and action in the workplace. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
    Ramsden, P. (2003). Learning to teach in higher education. London: Routledge/Falmer.
    Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (Eds.). (2006). Handbook of action research. London: Sage.
    Rowley, J. B. (2006). Becoming a high-performing mentor: A guide to reflection and action. Thousand Oakes, Calif: Corwin; London: Sage.
    Taylor, J., & Furnham, A. (2005). Learning at work: Excellent practice from best theory. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Wisker, G., Exley, K., & Antoniou, M. (2008). One-to-one teaching: Supervising, mentoring, coaching. London: Routledge.
    There is a wide range of journals that describe and debate action learning as an approach to improving teaching and learning, and that provide excellent examples of action learning projects. The following list should be regarded as illustrative, rather than definitive. Participants should also research journals that are more specific to their own contexts, disciplines and professional orientations.

    Action Learning: Research and Practice
    Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
    Australasian Business Intelligence
    Business/Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) News
    College Teaching
    Higher Education
    Higher Education Research and Development
    International Journal of Training Research
    Journal of Higher Education
    Mentoring & Tutoring
    Reflective Practice
    Research in Higher Education
    Journal of Education Policy
    Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice
    Studies in Higher Education
    Excellent resources are increasingly available online from a diverse range of international sources, including commercial and media sites, government sponsored sites, institutional sites, as well as professional organisations and workplace sites. The following sites are examples that provide insights into the range and diversity.
    Action Learning Wisdom: University of Queensland
    TAFE NSW, International Centre for VET Teaching and Learning
    Action Learning & Action Research Association (ALARA)
    International Foundation for Action Learning
    Action Learning (Revans)
    National Mentoring Association of Australia
    The Australian Learning and Teaching Council
    The on-line proceedings of tertiary education conferences and events also provide a rich resource. Examples include the conference sites of:
    ATN Assessment
    Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
    Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE)
    British Educational Research Association (BERA)
    Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA)
    Pacific Rim First Year Experience
    International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (ISSOTL)
    OECD Tertiary Education
    Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE)
    WA Teaching and Learning Forum

    Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005)
    For the purposes of considering a request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005), inherent requirements for this subject are articulated in the Unit Description, Learning Outcomes, Graduate Attributes and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the support for students with disabilities or medical conditions can be found at the Student Equity, Diversity and Disability Service website:

    Academic Misconduct

    Edith Cowan University has firm rules governing academic misconduct and there are substantial penalties that can be applied to students who are found in breach of these rules. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to:

    • plagiarism;
    • unauthorised collaboration;
    • cheating in examinations;
    • theft of other studentsí work.

    Additionally, any material submitted for assessment purposes must be work that has not been submitted previously, by any person, for any other unit at ECU or elsewhere.

    The ECU rules and policies governing all academic activities, including misconduct, can be accessed through the ECU website.

    ECU Web Unit Outline