Double-Loop Learning

In my last post I talked about learning from failure and succes. With this post i’d like to go in deeper on the concept of learning and how learning works in different situations.

Single-Loop Learning

Rudimentary, straight-forward tasks have a well known learning process attached to them:

Actions can lead to a match or mismatch in the expected results. When you encounter a mismatch, you have to change your action in order to find a match. Once you’re able to repeat that match, you’ve learned how to do the task.

This process is called Single-Loop Learning. For rudimentary tasks, this system has proved it’s value over and over again. It’s pretty much the cornerstone of our current schooling-system. But when it comes to the challenges we’re facing on economic, ecologic and sociological level, Single-Loop Learning won’t do the trick. As Albert Einstein once said:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Double-Loop Learning

In comes a scheme called Double-Loop Learning. Whereas with Single-Loop, we change our actions in order to create a match, Double-Loop Learning requires us to take a step further back.

The problems and challenges we’re facing are not purely the result of the actions we took, they are the result of the mindset in which we took these actions. Double-Loop Learning asks you to deeply analyse why a problem occurs. Find out why and when the problem occurs and then ask yourself if it’s possible to find a different system where this problem does not exist or is not as big of a problem as it is now.

Find the best possible system to work in for this project/problem/… (shifting systems and mindset is always possible!), then find out where the obstacles are.

Some  companies or ideas would never have worked out if someone else worked them out, even if they did the exact same things. Make sure your mindset is the right mindset for whatever it is you’re working on. Keeping the Double-Loop Learning scheme in the back of your head will help you to dig into problems deeper and take projects even further.


About leyssensjan

WHY I DO WHAT I DO As a designer and entrepreneur, I want to develop systems that have a strong impact on short term and will guide society towards a more sustainable, social and economically different system in the long term. WHAT I DO I blog about and do projects with people and organisations driven by passion. I'm always on the look for new projects, ideas and people to meet, contact me!

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