learning organization philosophy LO24561

From: HJRobles@aol.com
Date: 05/05/00

Replying to LO24552 --

Dear Liaw Fenn Yenn,

The concept of colleges as learning organizations is one that is of great
interest to me and the subject of my dissertation (which I'm happy to send
you a copy of if you are interested). I recently gave a talk to a
statewide research and planning group entitled "The Learning College ~ An
Oxymoron?" I think colleges have the potential to be the quintessential
learning organizations; there's a reason why some large corporations refer
to their sites as "campuses." There are also, however, some major
obstacles for colleges that are pursuing the goal of becoming a learning
organization, not the least of which are hundreds of years of academic
tradition that has remained relatively unchanged and an intense
territoriality (in the form of disciplines) coupled with the highly
independent character that typifies most educators. There is also an
interesting tension in having professionals -- educators -- working within
bureaucracies such as public higher education systems.

BUT it can be done and it is being done in colleges across the United
States, mostly by virtue of strong leadership and a clearly articulated
vision. Nobody, of course, can say they've achieved the status of a
learning organization because learning is on-going -- you never really get
"there." However, there are colleges that can point to substantive change
in the way they do function vs. a decade ago. They won't look like
corporate learning organizations in a lot of ways and in fact, they may go
out of their way to make sure the distinction is patently clear, but
nonetheless, they share many of the same characteristics and goals.

As I said, if you want more specific information on this subject, please
feel free to contact me.

Harriett J. Robles



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