This week’s reading were about single and double loop learning but I found it hard to draw a conclusion on where I sit, and where my team sits as I feel we haven’t been in a situation which has highlighted this area of learning. We haven’t had anything go majorly wrong, so no one has become defensive or passed the blame around, a sign of single loop learning according to Argyris (1991). But this isn’t to say that if something did go wrong, this is the way I would react or the way my team might react. One aspect of the reading which I did question was it was based on how people react to (what I thought were pretty big) problems or downfalls within the company or project which made it hard to relate to my experience with Mikes Bikes. Whilst our team isn’t at the top, we’re certainly not at the bottom. Maybe that in itself is our team’s problem. Because we aren’t in a position where we are disappointed with our team’s effort and we’re in a position where our SHV is constantly improving we aren’t questioning and looking deeper into why we aren’t at the top. Maybe we are too comfortable in the position we are in to challenge what we could be doing to be in an even better position. Does this mean we’re only single loop learning?
Synnott (2013) describes double loop learning as “looking behind the immediate problem and exploring and testing alternatives which may help to dramatically improve things.” The way that double loop learning is described makes me think instantly of these learning journals. By writing a learning journal each week are we not looking at a problem, dissecting it and trying to work out ways in which we can improve? Therefore each week, whilst looking at things from a team’s perspective we may or may not be in a single loop form of learning, individually we are all entering into double loop learning by “challenging the underlying assumptions and premises that support our goals, values and strategies.” (Synnott, 2013). Or in other words by reflecting week we are being forced more into a double loop. I guess the only thing to do now is to transfer our individual double loop learnings to the team environment. And maybe this already occurs without us really thinking about it because the areas or problems we reflect on and draw conclusions on individually are the areas or problems that we will have answers to and speak up about in the next team meetings.
So what do I think about single and double loop learning now that I’ve had some time to reflect on it? I don’t think it is quite as clear cut as one or the other. I think the situations you find yourself in will have an influence on the type of learning that takes place and sometimes you are forced (or encouraged) to engage in one type. Like these learning journals.
Argyris, C. (1991). Teaching smart people how to learn. Reflections, 4(2), 4--15
Synnott, M. (2013). Reflection and double loop learning: The case of HS2. Teaching Public Administration, 31(1), 124--134. doi:10.1177/0144739413479950