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Team Learning and Senge: Definition & Explanation

Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Team learning is one of the five disciplines outlined by Peter Senge in his book 'The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization' (1990). In this lesson, you will learn about team learning, its core concepts, and why it is important. A short quiz follows the lesson.

Why Is Team Learning Important?

According to Peter Senge, team learning is a necessary discipline an organization and its members must develop in order to build an effective learning organization. A learning organization is an organization that encourages and facilitates learning so that it can adapt and transform itself to achieve its goals in an dynamic and competitive world.

Definition

Peter Senge is a Senior Lecturer at MIT's Sloan School of Business. He has popularized the concept of a learning organization with his book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Team learning is a skill developed for group problem solving and learning.

Concepts

Team learning requires the following components to be effective:

  • Discussion. Discussion is a process of exploration taken by the team members. Each member presents and defends his view on the issue or problem facing the group.
  • Dialogue. The next step in team learning is dialogue. Dialogue, in its simplest terms, is a conversation. It's important to emphasis that dialogue in this context is not a debate. Team members are not attempting to successfully impose their view on their fellow members when engaging in dialogue. Instead, team members are attempting to go beyond each of their individual understandings of the issue presented and explore the issue creatively from many different points of view in order to make the best decision.

There is an important interrelationship with team learning and the other four disciplines. In order for you to engage in team learning, you should have developed a commitment to the truth that is found in personal mastery. You should also understand and be able to apply system thinking, which is the ability to see patterns and interrelationships - the big picture.

Additionally, you must be able to effectively recognize, test the validity, and improve upon your mental models, the generalized way you view the world. You will also need an understanding of the organization's shared vision so that solutions presented are in harmony with the vision. These skills are necessary to effectively help your team in discussions, dialogues and in finding creative solutions to problems facing your organization.

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