Action Learning and Learning Organization LO29326

From: Terje A. Tonsberg (
Date: 10/16/02

Replying to LO29316 --

Hello Arnold and group,

Arnold Kransdorff said:

> But a question arises. To my knowledge, none of the techniques
> specifically address the problem of imprecise recall contiguous with short
> and selective memory, defensive reasoning and the "lost" know-how from
> departed employees, which - to my mind - underscores the main weaknesses
> of existing methodologies. The indefinite evidence that springs from
> whichever of these factors automatically flaws any potential experiential
> learning.
> Does anyone out there know any different?

I don't know of any specialized model for dealing with this issue in
isolation, but I have seen these issues dealt with by Human Performance
Technologists and by other people dealing with measurement and evaluation
in HR issues, especially when it comes to evaluating the cost of turnover/
retention/ training etc. Being from the UK you might be familiar with Paul
Kearns - he mentions some measurement issues regarding these problems in
one of his books or articles. I would expect to find lots also among those
who deal with knowledge management. Also, the issue of dependence on the
expertise of specific people in an organization is often discussed
organizational behavior. So I think it is fair to say that it is either
implied or part of many models.

That is not to say that there is no need for expertise and models to deal
with this problem more effectively. It is an important issue that you
raised. Memory is not dealt with adequately in practical terms. Neither in
teaching (schools), nor in individual learning activities, never mind
training or human resource management. There is a huge knowing -doing gap
(information-doing?). For example, even though individual memory is a but
of a mystery still, we do know that if we don't bring knowledge/skill to
mastery it is quickly forgotten, and even if it is mastered regular review
is required for maintenance (use it or lose it.) We also know that there
are definite limits to how much we can learn over a limited period of
time. Where is the mastery, review and pacing in corporate training for

On the other hand, what is being said here, I think, is that developing
more and more models of types of learning brings attention away from
understanding universal principles. If one has a solid grasp of the
principles of the dynamics and prerequisites of learning and of
measurement, one can give birth to new models as new problems arise, or be
better at selecting the right one for the right situation and see it as a
part of a whole. With the understanding of universals new models would not
be fragmenting but enriching.



"Terje A. Tonsberg" <>

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