Bridging the Gap: Building a Learning Environment in the Workplace


Workplaces don’t typically look like ideal learning environments. That gap reflects a way of thinking that is being replaced with a vision of workplaces designed to be learning organizations. Closing that gap can be a challenge, however, and this paper describes nine elements of learning and explores how and to what extent they appear in most workplaces. The kind of learning described here requires a rethinking of much that we take for granted, including how we conceive of work itself. This white paper is the first in a series dedicated to exploring different ways of thinking about and transforming workplace learning. The next issue will discuss ways to improve learning at work, and subsequent issues will address motivation, creativity, and adult developmental theory and how these concepts can be operationalized and applied to support a learning organization.

Bridging the Gap, Part 2: Techniques for Supporting Learning in the Workplace (December 2014)
Our organizations are not as good as they should be at supporting individual and team learning, but we can improve with some relatively simple steps. Those steps include learning new ways to have fruitful, safe conversations; mining areas of conflict and tension for all they can teach us; designing learning processes into work activities; and supporting individuals as they grow and develop. These changes will make our workplaces more the kinds of places where people can dig into difficult, self-reflective learning. If we’re successful, the work of work will shift from avoiding and coping silently with anxiety, tensions, and quotidian problems and become more about more about drilling into these areas. In this way, we can move past the constriction of a fixed organization and create places where individuals can be together in creative, loving, whole, and flexible new ways.

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