LO, OL, and Social Learning LO26354

From: Malcolm Burson (mburson@mint.net)
Date: 03/13/01

LO friends --

As I understand it (I'm only just discovering it), the concept "social
learning" refers to the process by which relatively large groups who share
a common political, cultural or social identity choose new individual and
group actions in response to change. As I am encountering it, it refers
specifically to the means by which society "learns how to better navigate
a transition to sustainability" (US National Research Council, "Our Common
Journey, 1999: 48).

Given the clear linkages between organizational learning and
global/environmental sustainability issues, I'm wondering what
connections, as well as differences, you can help me identify between
organizational learning as we discuss it, and the social learning process
by which communities and nations endeavor to "make sense of what is
happening, shape interventions informed by that awareness, and interpret
the consequences of the interventions against expectations of what might
otherwise have occured" (ibid., 49).

Is it just a matter of magnifying and replicating the Five Disciplines on
a larger scale, or is there something distinct about communities and
nations (as compared with organizations) that changes the approach? Or,
from my particular point of reference, what is it that's so difficult
about fostering environmental awareness and learning among consumers,
nations, etc.?



Malcolm C. Burson Director of Special Projects Maine Department of Environmental Protection mburson@mint.net

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