Single-loop learning is a conventional type of technique. It is simple and has limited types of reactions towards a problem. Not many insights are needed in such learning as no or little learning occurs. It is based on sticking to rigid rules and strategies which results in the inability to understand the reason for the problem.

An example of single loop learning can be understood by analogy to the working of a thermostat. The thermostat has learned that when the temperature is too hot, it turns the heat off and when the temperature is low, it turns the heat on. This explains how single-loop learning works on receiving the information and taking corrective measures resulting in no learning.

Double loop learning exercise can be performed by allowing the members of the association to represent whether there should be a deviation in the existing rules apart from just sticking to the rules blindly. This is an outside-the-box approach as it involves collecting insights to come up with a solution better than existing ones.

An example of double-loop learning can be understood by thinking if the thermostat could question itself whether it should be set at a particular temperature or not. In this way, it would not only be able to rectify the error but also question its underlying mechanism to formulate the rules.

Triple loop learning is an approach that involves understanding the learning itself by looking at past experiences of how learning occurred combined with insights on how participants perceive the rules. Learning how the learning occurred is a basic part of triple-loop learning.

Double loop learning

In double-loop learning, objectives or rules for making decisions are changed in response to experience.The first loop applies the objectives or guiding principles, and the second loop allows for their adjustment, hence the term “double loop.” In organizational learning, double-loop learning can be helpful because it can foster creativity and innovation, moving beyond simply adapting to change to foreseeing or being ahead of it. This type of learning acknowledges that the way a problem is defined and solved can be a reason behind the problem.

Double loop learning theory describes the distinction between learning that maintains a behavioural system’s operation within a field of constancy and learning that modifies what the system attempts to achieve or maintain constant

Benefits of double loop learning

Chris Argyris double loop learning has created a change in the thinking process about the way the organization learns and what kind of relation an organization should have with the people, this also affects the way organizations take actions on the behalf of insights developed.

People are urged to consider their actions in the context of double loop learning. Instead of constantly acting and reacting, this can assist the business in taking a step back and considering what is best for all stakeholders.

Double loop learning offers team members the time, place, and mechanisms to pose challenging questions and receive meaningful responses.

Double-loop learning in organizations

Double loop learning meaning in organizations refers to the distinction between learning that maintains a behavioral system’s ability to operate within a persistent environment and instruction that modifies what the system aims to achieve or keep consistent.

Often in organizations, employees at different posts find it unsuitable to report any errors and reasons behind the lack of a company’s success to the top of the hierarchy. It happens when the employees feel that revealing the errors will expose them to the risk of being punished. This arises due to faulty organizational learning and leads to hiding the company’s problems resulting in deterioration. Double loop learning allows organizational learning for the detection and correction of errors. Double loop learning involves error detection combined with questioning the underlying policies and goals as well as its system structure.

Double loop learning in healthcare

In order to balance high quality and accessibility with cost-effectiveness and sustainability, the healthcare business is influenced by a variety of stakeholders, including health ministries, commercial and public hospitals, and contractors who supply technology to patients.

The case study on analyzing both single loop and double loop learning in the hospital with the ground theory of qualitative research method, recognized facilitators, interventors, and barriers in the process of learning. It resulted in finding out that double loop learning, through good utilization of gaps, organizational performance in terms of learning can be improved resulting in better learning. It occurs when individuals, groups, or organizations question the values, assumptions, and policies that lead to action, detection, and correction of errors.

In conclusion, we need a population that is competitive in the international market as well as should be healthy, educated, and productive in general. To inspire people who can pull these levers to do so, we need to better grasp the levers that are available for achieving this aim and how to best convey the complexities of the broader organization.

Disadvantages of double loop learning

If double loop learning occurs, it could be as a result of

  1. A crisis brought on by an external event (such as a competitor producing a better quality product)
  2. A revolution within the organization brought on by new management
  3. A crisis induced by current management in order to shake up the business.

There are several challenges of double loop learning as these practices create many long-term problems. Firstly, it takes time for the change to be executed after realizing that change should be done by the participants through learning. This delay causes the development of a feeling of unfulfillment in the participants of the double loop learning. Secondly, uninterested individuals are also pushed to become participants in the change as they start to believe as if they won’t take sufficient actions, their positions will be swapped by someone else. Third, the necessity of change becomes tedious for the organization in times of financial crisis. Fourth, the changes induce the inhibition of double loop learning in the long term.

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