Being a Learning-Centered Organization

At GLP we have come to know that embodying a learning-centered approach in all that we do is a lifelong journey of discovery and innovation. If you are reading this, you may have begun your journey through reading Jane Vella books, taking courses, grappling with what you’ve learned in the context of your daily life and work.

You may be on the path of actively using principles and practices on a daily basis or training others about a learning-centered approach to teaching. You may be alone in your organization or part of a team thinking about how this approach might benefit other aspects of your organization like the hiring process or using data to make effective change.

At GLP we’ve been developing a way to think and talk about the steps people and organizations might take to flourish as a learning-centered organization.

Becoming a learning-centered organization is a discipline. It is a pursuit and it is about how your organization’s impact is enhanced and how the people within the organization are developed professionally and personally. It’s not a destination. As Daniel Pink writes, mastery is an asymptote – something that can never be reached. It’s not a credential or piece of paper. It has to come from somewhere deeper – the want and the discipline to work on it each day.

Below is our definition and thoughts about the journey based on conversations and experiences with many clients seeking to walk a path towards a greater vision.

A Definition

A learning-centered organization (LCO) is committed to praxis – doing, reflecting, doing it differently in response to what it learns. It applies a learning-centered approach throughout all corners of the organization and is relentless in its desire for continuous learning for positive change. It embraces dialogue – both internally and externally – as a keyway to create this change.

An LCO has a keen and constant desire to improve, learn, and grow. There is a willingness to make mistakes, courage to try new things, and a valuing of experimentation in order to learn.

An LCO looks for evidence of learning, the transfer of that learning into changes in how daily work is done and the impact of that change on the communities it serves to inform future decision-making.

An LCO believes at its core, that this intentional practice will strengthen its work, fulfill its mission and work to support partners in their own development as learning-centered organizations.

The Journey 

Your organization is unique. It contains a variety of programs, departments, people, mission, and initiatives. Your systems and processes may be fully developed as a veteran organization, or perhaps they are just emerging as a nascent group. However, one thing is true across all organizations – change.

Your organization is a living and breathing thing that is constantly changing. An organization is made up of people. As such, people are constantly changing, growing, learning, and shifting attention.

The Learning-Centered Organization is a discipline for which to offer your people a shared approach and common language to intentionally evolve together. It can help your organization become stronger, more resilient, and better positioned for impact and to achieve the change you want to see in the world.

An Invitation

Global Learning Partners loves working with organizations, companies, agencies and groups to be learning-centered. In fact, it is one of our Strategic Objectives: to work with organizations journeying toward being learning-centered!

Where are you in your journey?

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Jeanette Romkema is GLP Senior Partner and Vision & Strategy Leader. Tyler Phillips is GLP Partner.

Here are more GLP blogs by Jeanette and Tyler.

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