The Top Six Things Organizations Must Do to Enable Emergent Learning

Sahana Chattopadhyay, Nov 05, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I've cited Sahana Chattopadhyay with approval frequently in the past, but this article needs correction. It represents a corruption of the term 'emergent learning' and is a step backward toward more traditional (and dysfunctional) forms of learning. Perhaps this is because she's been reading the HBR article, We Need Both Networks and Communities. I don't know. But she says, "Emergent Learning is a condition and an outcome of organizational culture, strategy and purpose." No it is not; if anything, it is the absence of these factors. The six conditions for emergent learning are not terrible on their own, but they are confused and muddled taken together. Sure, we could "Give up hierarchical, command and control mindset." But then how do we implement the three top-down directives that follow? This is a model for reverting an organization into tribes, setting up unit versus unit competition. That's not a progressive model, it's a regressive one.

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