Vigorous Learning

Everybody is learning something all the time. So is every work organization, if for no other reason than to update digital devices and systems. A big leap from this is becoming a Vigorous Learner by learning to live in balance with nature, always on a quest, always probing from nature’s view the why of everything. A Vigorous Learning Organization systematizes vigorous learning to collectively dig deep onto the implications of doing whatever it does. 

This contrasts with money motivated education, if we “invest” in education to make more money, and rate schools on the earnings of their graduates. That’s the logic of expansionary economic thinking. But the purpose of Vigorous Learning is more than preparing for a career.

Vigorous Learning is for survival, individually and collectively. Sure, part of it is learning how to work together, live together, govern ourselves, be incredibly efficient when needed, and enjoy life – arts, music, and all that, and especially learning how to live with each other. But learning how to live in a new balance with nature is necessary for survival. It’s both intellectual and emotional. It examines and experiments, real-life, hands-on, not confined to vicarious learning, although that’s important for understanding distant places and people we can never see ourselves.

Well done, Vigorous Learning has five elements:

Common Mission: In this case, learning to live in a new balance with nature. That leaves room for much fact-finding and hypothesizing on how to that in any given situation.

Leadership for Learning; That’s leading by asking questions rather than giving orders, and flatter, more flexible organizations. Strict autocratic hierarchy only when necessary.

Rigorous Learning Methods: Structure learning, keeping logs, records, and data as appropriate, and refer back to them. (Don’t repeat errors or re-learn the same lessons over and over.)

Symbiotic Thinking: Seek feedback connections and relationships, and keep nature in those loops.

Behavior for Learning: Learn to dialog and to admit that “I was wrong.” (Being wrong is the only way we learn.) This element is crucial to learning. Agreeing on the facts, as best one can ascertain them, and how to interpret them is essential for progress in learning. (Much political intransigence is ideologies in conflict. All parties want to win. They compromise reluctantly, accepting a compromise as workable, the “best deal we could get,” etc. That’s expansionary logic, when we need much better to live in balance with nature.)

Note that the the first two elements presume vigorous learning done collectively in an organization, any kind of organization.