This week I read the article “Teaching Smart People How to Learn” by Chris Argyris. It is a great piece of work discussing the idea and practical application of double loop learning. The examples in this article are very vivid and really get to the point why proffesionals or knowledge workers avoid learning.
Defensive reasoning is a big barrier for double loop learning. Teammembers search for solutions and reasons to problems outside themselves. They are affraid to acknoledge failure and thus are preventing themselves from learning. Success in their careers is the main source for them to be affraid of critisicm.
Learning and the educational systems are two subjects rather close to each other and there is a great video from TED by Sir Ken Robinson.
Ken argues that educational systems kill creativity. Kids are not affraid to be wrong and if you are not prepared to be wrong you never come up with something original. Kids lose this ability to be wrong and turn in to adults that are affraid to be wrong. Education is telling students that mistakes are the worst things to make.
In sports it is a common sense that mistakes and losing are needed to win matches and achieve goals. If a player makes a mistake during a match this is the only moment you can make them see how to perform better and to avoid the mistake. When I am coaching I always try to make teams lose bigtime during the training season. That is the time when they learn the most and create a bigger appetite for succes.
Chris and Ken are both stating that the inability to make mistakes, to be wrong and be defensive about them is a big problem. This problem leads to the inability to learn and the inability to be creative. We need to start learning again to make mistakes, be honest about them and learn from these mistakes to do a better job!