Unlearning and Rich's intro LO9766

Tony Kortens (tkortens@stmarys-ca.edu)
Thu, 5 Sep 1996 11:13:16 -0700 (PDT)

Replying to your intro Rich LO9713,

I just wanted to say that I think you are right on in the (not so) "loose
connection" between learning/unlearning and improvisation. I only have a
minute to reply - so, for example of a "tighter" connection - the Western
Business school ran a LO international conference in 1993 that included
Weick, Seely Brown, Driver, Stacey and many other folks. They had great
success it seems in using an improvisation session at the beginning of the
conference. Significant linkage was made between the session and the the
presentations made by Weick, Seely Brown, etc.

The monologue is available from the them (in Canada) for $20 - (you'll
find them on the web), its a great resource and a rare example of a
"learning rich" conference model. I am sure some of the authors are on
this list.

One slant I would add to your words and quotes, especially the one from
Fox, is that I would stress the interaction with the "dynamic social
environment" as being at least part of the source of the "deeper
learning/unlearning". This is a stress on factors away from our
traditional emphasis on the individual and his/her own internal cognition
as the sole or most important source of learning (read traditional
assumptions of psychology, biases of positivism, etc). Seely Brown stands
close to this position also - that we need to attend to situated action -
or affordance as he refers to (from Gibson, apparently). Such a position
would seem attuned to the biases of the LO field with its cognizance and
stress on "greater than individual" (read systemic) learning constructs.

Therefore in the aviation stories we would attend at least equally to the
contextual factors that "afforded" the extraordinary and unexpected
action/s (improvisation), AS well as the "learnt" principles that the
pilots brain had embedded within it. Obviously this is a more complicated
story, yet one with greater potential - I would believe. It is also - to
me - a somewhat closer view of what Fox, Bateson, etc was suggesting.

Thanks for your thoughts, it reminds me of the lack of simple "play" I
have had in my life of late. Have to fix that.

Tony Kortens

P.S. Coincidentally Phil Capper lives close to the practice of a Mr. Colin
Martin, who runs the national school of training for trainers in NZ. He is
also a psychodrama director and the entire school curricula is based
around the issues we are discussing. (Do you know him Phil?)

Tony Kortens

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Tony Kortens <tkortens@stmarys-ca.edu>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>