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featured articles: informal education, lifelong learning and social action

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the learning organization

exploring the idea of the learning organization and the work of key contributors

some key ideas

the learning organization. Since the publication of Peter photograph of Peter Senge by Larry Lawfwer (used with the permission of SoL)Senge's 'The Fifth Discipline' there has been a lot of talk of the learning organization. But what actually is it? Is it anything more than rhetoric? Can it be realized?

organizational learning. In recent years there has been a lot of talk of 'organizational learning'. Here we explore the theory and practice of such learning. We examine some key theorists and themes, and ask whether organizations can learn?

dialogue. Dialogue is a key aspect of Senge's and others vision of the learning organization. But what actually is dialogue? And what can we learn from philosophers like Gadamer and  educationalists like Freire

some key thinkers

donald schön: learning, reflection and change.  Donald Schon made a remarkable contribution to our understanding of the theory and practice of learning. His innovative thinking around notions such as  ‘the learning society’ and businesses as learning system, plus his work on ‘double-loop learning’ and ‘reflection-in-action’ have been crucial to the development of the notion of the learning organization. We explore his work and some of the key themes that emerge. What assessment can we make now? 

peter senge on the learning organization. Peter Senge’s vision of a learning organization as a group of people who are continually enhancing their capabilities to create what they want to create has been deeply influential. We discuss the five disciplines he sees as central to learning organizations and some issues and questions concerning the theory and practice of learning organizations.

theories of action, double-loop learning and organizational learning. The work of Chris Argyris (1923-) has influenced thinking about the relationship of people and organizations, organizational learning and action research. Here we examine some key aspects of his thinking.

Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice. The idea that learning involves a deepening process of participation in a community of practice has gained significant ground in recent years. Communities of practice have also become an important focus within organizational development. In this article we outline the theory and practice of such communities, and examine some of issues and questions for informal educators and those concerned with lifelong learning.