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Key Features of the Learning Organization

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  • 0:03 Learning Organization
  • 0:39 Continuous Learning
  • 1:05 Knowledge Generation
  • 2:01 Systems Thinking
  • 3:05 Other Key Features
  • 4:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amber Dejmal
A learning organization has employees who are engaged in improvement, learning, and growth for themselves and the company. In this lesson, we'll explore the six features found in a learning organization.

Learning Organization

Imagine you're a manager in a learning organization that sells high-end fashion. A learning organization is defined as an organization that encourages and promotes continuous learning. This kind of organization is geared towards tools to help identify, promote, and evaluate the quality of learning inside a company. There are key features associated with a learning organization that you can utilize to help grow your company. These key features include continuous learning, knowledge generation and sharing, systems thinking, learning culture, workplace flexibility, and valuing employees.

Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is the ability to continually develop and improve skills and knowledge, to adapt to changes in the workplace, and perform effectively. As a manager, your goal is to make the workplace more effective. To do that, you must keep up-to-date on current research and technology. You must also identify and pursue areas for development and training that can enhance job performance within your company and continually reflect on and learn from the ongoing changes in your organization.

Knowledge Generation

Knowledge generation means developing systems and processes that assist a company in making information and answers readily available across an organization. Today's business environment is data-driven. Companies count on being able to quickly gather information to make decisions and solve problems. In a learning organization, all employees are continuously exploring how to find information and answers that help them manage the rapidly changing face of today's businesses.

Knowledge sharing is the exchange of information, skills, or expertise within an organization. Knowledge is an asset to an organization because it promotes a competitive advantage. Employees should be encouraged to actively share their knowledge and expertise with one another. A company full of experts will easily stay ahead of the competition. Promoting trust, mentoring programs, incentives for learning, and the use of the latest technology will help your company create the kind of culture that can capitalize on knowledge generation and sharing.

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking is a framework designed by Peter Senge that helps us understand how parts, people, and events in a company influence one another within a system as a whole. This framework looks at addressing how problems come about. By using this framework to view problems, you can gain insight into what you might do differently in the future.

There are three characteristics of a systems thinking approach:

  1. Have a deep and persistent commitment to real learning.

  2. Be prepared to be wrong and challenge your own mental models or beliefs, ideas, images, and verbal descriptions that you consciously or unconsciously form from experiences.

  3. Find different people, with different points of view, who are from different parts of the system and have them come together to see something that they could not see individually.

You can use this model in your workplace to uncover and resolve issues. In order to find a solution to a problem, you could gather people from different parts of the company to collaboratively find a solution. Systems thinking is about challenging everything we do. Just because a process works today, it doesn't mean it will serve your company's best interests tomorrow.

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