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Scrambling cognitive eggs

The Learning Organization has been a buzz word in companies since MIT’s Senge published The Fifth Discipline in 1990.  Yet organizational learning can happen only when individuals in the system learn. And, in most organizations, the individuals in the system are adults.

In my last post I talked about the ways that our brains continue to grow and change throughout our adult lives. There are implications for adult learning environments. Adults work primarily with concepts and patterns, not facts. If we want adults to learn facts, it’s best to introduce the information in small amounts followed by a question, “How does this fit or not fit with what you already know?” Followed by more questions for reflection:

How does this change your view of the way things work?
What do you agree with?
What do you disagree with?
What new patterns do you see when you consider the new information?
Does this make you think of a story or something you’ve experienced?

Those who already practice critical thinking may recognize some of these questions. Critical thinking and reflection are what allow adults to learn, to grow new neurons, to lay down new neural pathways and reinforce old ones. Shaking up our cognitive pathways allows us to continue to learn and grow . . . allowing our organizations to be learning organizations. Let’s make sure our learning opportunities are appropriately scrambled and not all in one basket.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. It is rare to find ideas which are useful for business owners that involve critical thinking. That’s why I find your material so refreshing and relevant. Personally, I believe that critical thinking is one of -if not the- most important life skill; it is something that should be taught early in life and reinforced throughout.

    I’d like to add a comment about “facts” that comes from Harold Geneen’s book, Managing.

    To Geneen, an objective view of the facts was one of the most important aspects of successful management. People go wrong most often when their decisions are based upon inadequate knowledge of the available facts or when they lack sufficient facts altogether.

    All facts are not created equal, however. Geneen points out these variations:

    Apparent facts
    Assumed facts
    Reported facts
    Hoped-for facts
    Facts so labeled and accepted as facts

    January 10, 2010

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Questions That Encourage Growth
  2. When questions derail the process « Resources for Organization Development
  3. The power of critical thinking « Resources for Organization Development

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