In order for an institution to function like a learning organization, its constituents need to take time to reflect on their professional practice, learn from their experiences and design new actions to keep up with the ambiguity of challenges prevalent in volatile times (Yeo, 2006). Chris Argyris described two types of learning: 1) single-loop learning, and 2) double-loop learning (Osland, Kolb, Rubin, & Turner, 2007). According to Osland et al. (2007, p. 64), single-loop learning or adaptive learning is defined as “a coping approach that focuses solving problems and making incremental improvements using the prevailing mental model.” In other words, it is the ability to cope without questioning, solve problems without investigating other options, and makes improvements within the organization without using creativity or without changes the status quo. Adaptive learning provides a pedagogical framework to accommodate learning styles, media, and interactivity. Adaptive learning provides a pedagogical framework to accommodate learning styles, media, and interactivity. “Adaptive,” or student-centred learning was influenced by formal theories of knowledge representation, connectionist approaches to learning, and symbolic representations of knowledge creation (Sonwalkar, 2008).
Single-loop learning involves using knowledge to solve specific problems based on existing assumptions, and often based on what has worked in the past. This writer has experienced this when dealing with the subordinates in handling human resources problems with reference to the guided rules and procedures as given by the Malaysian Civil Service Department. Actually the writer gave an example of Adaptive Learning when handling human resources problems with reference to the guided rules and procedures as given by the Malaysian Civil Service Department. In Malaysia, all of the public universities are under the control of Malaysian Government and any employees' services matter must be referred to the Malaysian Civil Service Department. In this situation normally the writer just need an ability to cope without questioning, solve problems without investigating other options, and makes improvements within the organization without using much creativity or without changes the status quo. In most of the cases, the writer just need to refer to the guidelines and procedures that stated in the Handbook given by the Malaysian Civil Service Department and cannot even change the status quo.
Double-loop learning or generative learning “consists of continuous experimentation and feedback in an ongoing analysis of how organizations define and solve problems” (Osland et al., 2007, p. 64). In double-loop learning, people question the assumptions that underlie their theories and ask themselves hard questions. Double-loop learning is developed when people not only reference predetermined rules; they constructively challenge rote responses as well (Blackman et al., 2004). Double-loop learning contributes to organizational members’ capacity to enlarge their responsibilities, enhancing their responsiveness to things around them in turn. They construct alternative scenarios in anticipation of likely outcomes, test potential ideas and replace old rules with new ones (Blackman et al., 2004). Consequently, they enhance their personal and meta-competences by being more confident in the way they relate to people and being more creative in the way they approach problems (Cheetnam and Chivers, 1998). The capacity to learn and perform is largely motivated by the alignment between personal values and organizational vision. This writer has experienced this when doing her doctorate program in NOVA through blended-learning. This program is an example of a new mental map about how students learn without being physically present in a classroom.
The writer gave an example of Generative Learning by sharing her experiences in doing her doctorate program in NOVA through blended-learning method because this program is an example of a new mental map about how she learn without being physically present in a classroom. The writer was able to gain some new experiences, getting used to a new way of study, familiarized herself with the learning technology and meet new people. She has an ability to enlarge her responsibilities, enhancing her responsiveness to things around her, enhancing her personal and meta-competences by being more confident in the way she relates to people and being more creative in the way she approach problems.
The writer consider herself learning in single loops when she just need to refer to the Handbook given when dealing with the services matter and is regarded as minimal as she tend to be inward-looking merely performing tasks as part of her routine. The writer is in double-loop learning when she joined the blended-learning program as she goes a step further and questions existing assumptions in order to create new insights. The writer change from single-loop learning to double-loop learning as she move from simply performing to improving daily tasks, and as a result, it is a coping response to a creative response.
Argyris, C. (1993), Knowledge for action, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.
Blackman, D., Connelly, J. & Henderson, S. (2004), “Does double loop learning create reliable knowledge?” The Learning Organization, 11: 1, pp. 11-27.
Cheetham, G. & Chivers, G. (1998), “The reflective (and competent), practitioner: a model of professional competence which seeks to harmonize the reflective practitioner and competence-based approaches”, Journal of European Industrial Training, 22: 7, pp. 267-76.
Kolb, D. A., Osland, J. S., Turner, M. E., & Rubin, I. M. (2007). The Organizational behavior: Behavior reader (8th ed.). Upper River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Sonwalkar, N. (2008). Adaptive individualization: the next generation of online education. On the horizon, 16: 1, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1074-8121, pp. 44-47.
Yeo, R. K. (2005). Learning institution to learning organization: Kudos to reflective practitioners. Journal of European Industrial Training, 30: 5, pp. 396-419, Emerald Group Publishing Limited. DOI 10.1108/03090590610677944.