Action Learning and Learning Organization LO29313

From: Terje A. Tonsberg (
Date: 10/15/02

Replying to LO29306 --

Greetings At and group,

At said:
> The number of hits reduce to
> accelerated learning 7
> action learning 20
> adaptive learning 11
> What a dramatic reduction in the number of hits! It is because of the
> very lack of wholeness and openness (i dare not even test for the other
> five 7Es ;-) that the list has become so large. Wholeness is needed to
> connect whatever adjective "" which occurs in the
> " learning" to the very act of learning. Openness is needed to
> bring in all other adjectives as also facets of the act of learning.

Yes, I am afraid you would come up with zero if you added the other 5.

Accelerated learning emphasizes otherness (diversity) in learning
acivities and styles but greatly lack sureness and spareness (precision,
objectivity and measurement,) that is why they often make fantastic claims
and display colorful theories without much evidence (e.g. Howard Gardner.)

Action learning is nice, but is really quite mundane. It is identical to
so many, many similar models, such as TQM. Plan - Act - Evaluate - plan.
That's about it. All it does is tell you to be systematic in the essential
steps of continuous learning i.e. liveness. TONS of learning "types" boil
down to semantical variations of this model, produced by branding wars in
academia and consulting. As Alan said: "I suspect many academics dream up
these titles to push their own professional barrow." This is the

 - change the names of some of the steps (e.g. call "evaluate" "measure"
or "check" instead)
 - add a few substeps to the list such as: Evaluate - "Reflect" - Plan
 - throw in some different tools to use at the different stages. This is
easy, there is a lot out there and you can apply the above two steps on
them to have your own version.
 - give the new model/type/method a new name, e.g. "Dynamic Learning."

In this area it is still hard to beat Drucker's ""what is our business?" -
"who is our customer" - "what is value to our customer" - "set wide range
of measureable objectives" - "manage/ coach by objectives"" cycle. It
starts by bringing into the process otherness by asking what one should be
learning in the first place. This version of action learning is
prescriptive enough to be helpful, yet flexible enough to be widely
applicable. Drucker also has an even simpler model of AL, where he simply
advices to write down your decisions and what you expect from them, then
look at what actually has happened 6 months later. That will probably do
as far as AL templates go.

The AL models COULD have sufficient emphasis on the 7Es. The essential
problem with all such templates for types of learning is that for sincere
and independent learners any of them will do, but for anybody else none
will do. They cannot force a change in peoples hearts. That is why TQM/ AL
etc. intitiatives often fail. They are brought from the outside and forced
onto the inside of the organization as templates (meetings to be
conducted, documents to be filled out etc.) but the inside of the
individual learners remains the same. This means it will be applied
without passion, without intitiative, without understanding, and people
will merely go through the motions. There will be a lack of liveness since
individual learning will be out of synch with the templates' intended

Adaptive learning seems to be little more than the e-version of
accelerated learning--mainly a technological issue. Nevertheless, more
adaptive e-learning systems (to individual needs) are definitely welcome.



"Terje A. Tonsberg" <>

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