The Definition of Organizational Learning – Knowledge is Power

Let’s take a moment to talk about the actual definition of organizational learning. We’ve taken quite a bit of time to expound on strategies, skills, models and other aspects of this topic, but we really haven’t talked about the core nature and aspects of organizational learning itself, have we? This is an oversight, and one that cannot be allowed to stand any longer.

The problem is that organizational learning applies to a wide-sweeping phenomenon, but also to a specific set of learning models at the same time. One fits within the other, but the other does not encompass its owner. Therefore, without a true understanding of the definition of organizational learning, and the value of both definitions, you’ll be missing out on something powerful, and a major aspect of leadership skills as a whole.

So, what is the difference between either definition? Well, let’s talk about the broad definition first.

In the broadest definition, organizational learning is any scenario where a group of people that make a collective organization learn new information in a cooperative and codependent model. This is differentiated from individual learning where, while there may be groups of people being educated, they are not operating as a unit for future cooperative application of said information.

This is differentiated from normal classroom environments where students may work somewhat cooperatively in training, but to no cooperative means upon completion of training. This lack of unity is less of an issue in formal education, but when it comes to corporate training and learning, it doesn’t work out very well for very obvious reasons.

There are countless models for the broad definition of organizational learning, but there are specific models with this label more directly applied. These were proposed models that saw their origins in the 90s, with the boom of abstract mathematics seeing practical application in regular things such as business and industry.

These models tend to fall under the Schorn models as well as the knowledge management models. These models propose specific distributions of information and logistics during the training process, and serve as frameworks for additional modeling and presentation of training to be applied to them depending on organizational culture and human elements. It is models such as these that allow for the vaunted gamification technique to be applied to its fullest, as well as looped dynamics and deuterolearning.

As complex and obfuscated as these can become, their ability to allow for management of immense organizations with large amounts of information without unneeded overlap are quite significant, making these models worth investigation when training is needed.

Knowledge is power, so when it comes to training and learning, the best and most powerful strategies must be pursued if one wants to succeed as a leader and in business in general. Optimizing your efficiency and effectiveness with training should be a primary goal, and as a result, organizational learning in the broad and narrow definitions warrant your attention, even for small training needs.

The definition of organizational training is united empowerment of a group in learning and in application.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
Jason Silberman on sabtwitterJason Silberman on sabgoogleJason Silberman on sabfacebook