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Single- and Double-Loop Learning

The distinction between single- and double-loop learning has entered the lexicon of writers in the fields of professional and organizational learning, reflective practice, and organizational and social change. The terms are most closely associated with two American scholars—Chris Argyris and Donald Schön. For them, learning is not the accumulation of knowledge but the detection and correction of errors. Errors are mismatches between the intended and the actual results of action, whether the action was taken by individuals, groups, or organizations. Learning involves inquiry into the cause of the mismatch and revision of the action to bring about the intended consequences. This entry explains single-loop and double-loop learning and discusses the challenges in the implementation of double-loop learning.

The distinction between single- and double-loop learning is illustrated ...

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