Introducing the Learning Practice - II. Becoming a learning practice

Rosemary Kathleen Rushmer, D Kelly, M Lough, JE Wilkinson, Huw Talfryn Oakley Davies

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    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Rationale, aims and objectives This paper is the second of three related papers exploring the ways in which the principles of Learning Organizations (LOs) could be applied in Primary Care settings at the point of service delivery. Methods Based on a theoretical and empirical review of available evidence, here we introduce the process by which a Practice can start to become a Learning Practice (LP). Results and conclusions Steps taken to enhance both individual and organizational learning begin the process of moving towards a learning culture. Attention is given to the routines that can be established within the practice to make learning systematically an integral part of what the practice does. This involves focusing on all three of single-, double- and triple-loop learning. Within the paper, a distinction is made between individual, collective and organizational learning. We argue that individual and collective learning may be easier to achieve than organizational learning as processes and systems already exist within the Health Service to facilitate personal learning and development with some opportunities for collective and integrated learning and working. However, although organizational learning needs to spread beyond the LP to the wider Health Service to inform future training courses, policy and decision-making, there currently seem to be few processes by which this might be achieved. This paper contributes to the wider quality improvement debate in three main ways. First, by reviewing existing theoretical and empirical material on LOs in health care settings it provides both an informed vision and a set of practical guidelines on the ways in which a Practice could start to effect its own regime of learning, innovation and change. Second, it highlights the paucity of opportunities individual general practitioner practices have to share their learning more widely. Thirdly, it adds to the evidence base on how to apply LO theory and activate learning cultures in health care settings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)387-398
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


    • innovation
    • learning cultures
    • learning organizations
    • organizational learning
    • primary care
    • the learning practice
    • CARE


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