History of BDAL

Professor Reg RevansIn the late 1930s, Reg Revans was a doctoral student in astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, working at the Cavendish Laboratories alongside five Nobel prizewinners in the department. Revans noticed that when they were faced with difficult research problems, they would sit down together and ask one another lots of questions. None of them was considered more important than any other and they all had contributions to make, even when they were not experts in a particular field. In this way they reach workable solutions to their research problems.

Revans was struck by this powerful technique. When he went to work for the Coal Board in coal mines in England and Wales in 1940s, Revans introduced the technique there. When pit managers had problems, he encouraged them to meet together in small groups, on site, and ask one another questions about what they saw in order to find their own solutions, rather than bring in 'experts' to solve problems for them. The technique proved successful and managers wrote their own handbook on how to run a coal mine.

Some years later, Professor Reg Revans formalized the cogent and tested theory which is now the cornerstone of many management and organizational development programs.

Over the years, many world best corporations and organizations have utilized this technique in the design and delivery of executive development programs tailored to their specific challenges, issues, industries and competitive strategies.

Revans strongly held that the key to improving performance lay not with 'experts' but with practitioners themselves. Hence he devised Action Learning as a process whereby the participant studies his own actions and experience in conjunction with others in small groups called action learning sets.