Facilitating Project Performance Improvement: A Practical Guide to Multi-Level Learning

By Jerry Julian | Go to book overview

2

FOUNDATIONS
AND PRINCIPLES OF
MULTI-LEVEL LEARNING

In the last chapter, we discussed how informal and incidental learning in project organizations can lead to surprises and blowups that trigger redlight learning, resulting in “blamestorming” and other detrimental longterm effects. We also discussed the problems associated with traditional “lessons-learned” practices and why they have proved ineffective for facilitating learning and performance improvement—primarily because these practices defer structured reflection until after projects are over, when it is too late for teams to implement meaningful improvements. In this chapter, we discuss the foundations and principles of multi-level learning, beginning with the concepts associated with productive reflection, then moving to a discussion of how both the U.S. Army and companies adopting agile software development approaches engage in periodic reflection to improve performance from one iteration, one phase, and one project to the next. The chapter concludes with an overview of the principles of multi-level learning.


REFLECTION ON ACTION

In his book Educating the Reflective Practitioner, Donald A. Schön (1990) demonstrates how reflection plays an important role in the development of “professional artistry,” the “kinds of competences practitioners sometimes display in unique, uncertain, and conflicted situations of practice” (p. 22). He distinguishes this type of competence from competence that is based solely on the application of the explicit rules and guidelines of one's

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