learning – monitoring – evaluation

Metacognitive strategies for learning

“Learning to learn” — what practice could be more useful than that? Such learning practices are variously called double-loop or second-order or metacognitive. Here’s a description, in the context of teaching and education, from the US National Research Council (NRC) publication, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (2000): A “metacognitive” approach to instruction [...]

Design for organizational learning: US military

A few stories I came across recently have me thinking about the challenges of organizational learning — in this case, with respect to the U.S. military. “I believe the Army is more interested in learning from its experiences than any organization I had ever been in,” pronounced Margaret Wheatley in a 1997 interview with Scott [...]

Michael Quinn Patton: evaluation for innovation

Mahatma Gandhi looked up from his spinning wheel as an attendant read aloud from a letter: “Dear Mr Gandhi: We regret we cannot fund your proposal because the link between spinning cloth and the fall of the British Empire was not clear to us.” That’s a cartoon in Michael Quinn Patton’s 2011 book, Developmental Evaluation: Applying [...]

Chris Argyris: norms of competence and justice

Business and learning theorist Chris Argyris passed away last weekend. He was widely known for his model of single-loop and double-loop learning. Numerous visualizations of this model are available online. Still, I find they often lack a couple of key features. One is the clarity of Gareth Morgan’s interpretation, which I’ve adapted here from his [...]

Interview with John D. Smith on learning and community

When Ioan Fazey at the UK-based Sustainable Learning project asked me to contribute a blog post, I took it as an opportunity to interview Digital Habitats coauthor John David Smith: HS: And do you find that the perception of belonging to a community is correlated to a perception of learning? JS: Well, one definition that Etienne [...]

Solnit and Nesta: Evaluating intervention

“Activism is not a journey to the corner store; it is a plunge into the dark” — Rebecca Solnit, writing in the spring of 2003, after massive global demonstrations had failed to stop the war in Iraq. Last week at the annual PNCA Edelman Lecture, Solnit looked back from a ten-year vantage point on those [...]

Social learning and competence

Imagine that you are in high school, preparing for a test in mathematics or physics or history. You take the test and do very poorly. Every answer wrong. Would that preparation of yours still count as “learning”? Seems ludicrous. Surely, if learning is to have some meaning, it must be in relation to the development [...]