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Non-formal management learning through electronic experiential fiction

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Purpose ‐ All sectors of the economy have shortfalls in the quantity and quality of management development, but a notably large skills gap is in the not-for-profit sector, compounded by a reluctance among many managers in the sector to engage with learning management skills. The purpose of this paper is to report on a novel approach which has successfully deployed web technology to create a soap-opera style of material for the purposes of informal experiential learning for managers in that sector. Design/methodology/approach ‐ An action learning approach was used. Findings ‐ It has proved feasible to deploy the processes and style of soap-opera (continuing drama) to the development of non-formal management development materials. It has also been feasible to find and develop a team of authors with suitable management experience and fiction-writing skills. Research limitations/implications ‐ This is based on a single case study developed in a particular set of circumstances, so its generalisability has not been fully evaluated. Practical implications ‐ Significant appropriate management and technical resources are needed to set up and produce this type of material on a continuing basis. Social implications ‐ Many managers are unable to participate in formal management education, but are hard to reach. Their needs are not simply for information, but also for a sense of a learning community and for engaging material, communicated with some drama and clearly relevant to their everyday experience. Originality/value ‐ The project relates to a unique large-scale initiative to address hard-to-reach groups in need of management development.

Keywords: Continuing drama; Enactive learning; Experiential e-learning; Experiential learning; Fiction; Management development; Managers; Non-profit organizations; Online learning; Voluntary sector

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-03-16

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