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Single and double loop learning


I am looking for some practical examples of single and double loop learning (preferably in an L&D scenario) to demonstrate very simple what these terms are... any ideas?

3 Responses

  1. Put simply

    Single loop learning focuses on incremental changes in for example behaviours, the intervention solves the problem but it doesn’t question why the problem occured in the first place.  Double loop learning focuses on transformational change by questioning the reasons behind the problem and seeks solutions to solve this. Double loop learning involves questioning and challenging the status quo, the "well we’ve always done it this way" culture, finding out the root causes to the problems and using creative thinking to find solutions. 

    An example could be that managers have problems meeting deadlines so you suggest a time management course.  The managers attend and learn strategies and techniques that can be used to improve personal effectiveness.  However, although there is a slight improvement there is still an issue.  When investigated further it is found that organisational processes, policies and culture all contribute to the problem of managers not meeting deadlines.  It is therefore this that is the root cause of the problem.  This is the link between Learning and Development and Organisational Development.

    For further reading see Donald Schon and Chris Argyris

    Hope this helps


  2. Single and double loop learning

    Excellent, well explained and a great example, thanks Angela

  3. Questioning

    Hi Jamaica

    Also worth looking at questioning, as the quesions must change according to the level of understanding you are checking…

    Asking your delegates to produce Recall, Process and Application questions would give them a good insight into what is required at each level…I have templates if you need.



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