Reading 1.0 – Chris Argyris’ Concept of Double-loop Learning

The article of focus explores one of Argyris’ main areas of attention amongst his research and theorizing – individual and organizational learning. Distinctly, the article tells, “Here the interest lies in the extent which human reasoning, not just behavior can become the basis for diagnosis and action”. The article proceeds to underline Argyris’ theory that publics have mental maps in relation to how they behave in certain situations. The author describes these maps as the way people “plan, implement and review their actions”. Additionally, Argyris and Schon understand learning to entail the “detection and correction of error”.


From the academic text, I interpret ‘single loop learning’ to be a process of which a person relies on their governing variables to problem solve when going through the mental structure of learning. Additionally, it seems that this is done without the person’s cognitive realization and more of a hierarchy or ones natural instinct of the individual’s governing variables. Furthermore, I grasp that ‘double loop learning’ involves a person seeking beyond their default strategies to find a solution… Or as the article tells, ‘double loop learning’ “Involves questioning the role of the framing and learning systems which underlie actual goals and strategies”. Notably, Argyris argues that for practitioners and organisations to be able to respond effectively in changing environments, it is pivotal for publics to be ‘double loop learners’.


I am going to further consider and hopefully implement the double loop learning methods raised in the reading and workshop. Whilst undertaking the workshop, I realised that I am sometimes a single loop learner with my problem saving tac. However, to apply Miles’ practice, I am going to monitor my study productivity over the coming week and assess when I study best, how long I can generally work for before my efforts become counterproductive and if I work well or poorly under tight deadlines. Once determining these elements and trends I am going to try a different approach to my standard problem solving solutions.


After considering these things for only a day so far – I have recognised that I am more productive in three to four hour intervals, the quality of work I produce is of a higher standard when I am not working within a short deadline and that I study well both mornings and nights however, not both of them within the same day. Further more, I am going to continue to monitor my study productivity and behaviour for the remainder of the week and then try implimnet a study plan that will hopefully assist my functionality as well as the work I produce over the semester.