Re: Emergent Learning LO2111

Orbis (
14 Jul 95 12:25:32 EDT

Replying to LO2068 [...linkage made by your host...]

Kent Myers wrote:
>I am a below-average performer in billiards, darts, golf, tennis, and
>archery. On a few occasions, in each sport, I have been miraculously
>successful. I believe that an underlying ability is disabled by a brain
>within the brain that interferes while attempting to monitor and control.

> I would say that I have a general blockage (covering many similar
>tasks), and that the blockage presents abruptly and chronically. The
>problem may be the use of an explicit knowledge processor to monitor tacit
>knowledge performance. An appropriate monitor is available but is

I have a couple of points about the underlying premise, and also a request
to those involved in the broader discussion of this thread.

Firstly, randomness (which your fellow players will call "luck") will
undoubtably lead to people being "miraculously successful" on odd
occasions in most sports. Just look at some of the score sheets of below
average bowlers and you will find strikes, sometimes in sequence. This
demonstrates that your brain and body is capable of producing the right
formula for good performance, but I would be wary of calling this an
"underlying ability". Secondly, It is apparent that some people can more
easily understand and duplicate what the brain and body is doing when good
performance is achieved. Thus, they can move up the learning curve faster.
A lot of "inner game" type coaching focuses on the broader perspectives of
good sports performance, encouraging the person to get in touch with all
brain and body functions. Thirdly, it is the consistency of that
performance that is key. This is why very capable sports people, and
musicians etc., practice a great deal. There is a shared belief in such
communities that regular practice is needed to maintain performance, as
well as improve it. Even those blessed with the underlying ability, such
as young tennis stars, seem to accept that regular reproduction of such
abilities comes through practice.

Now to my request prefaced by the thinking that led to it. I am not sure
if the many sports examples are useful. Sports situations generally are
more predictable than organizational situations, so the learning and
practice can be designed to cope with a range of predictable events. Also,
while good sports performers do practice a lot, good organizational
performers, or even average or poor ones, seem not to practice. (With the
exception of the military and emergency services.)

So, please help me relate this thread to organizational performance, and
what may be learnt from it in order to achieve good performance in, say,
software engineers, or sales people. Also, more importantly for me, what
can a LO do to foster and support emergent learning?

Peter A. Smith
Orbis Learning Corporation

"Individual learning is a necessary but insufficient force for organizational learning." Argyris, C. & Schon, D.A.