Double Loop Learning: Value Underlying Feelings

Last Update on March 12, 2021 : Published on March 13, 2021
Double loop learning

Business theorist, Chris Argyris, formed the concepts of modern organizational development and organizational learning theory. One of the most important ideas is double-loop learning which focuses on behavior caused by underlying thoughts of a human mind rather than superficial or single loop thoughts.

What is Double Loop Learning?

Single Loop Learning vs double Loop Learning

The theorist described the concept of single-loop and double-loop learning with an example. When you switch on a thermostat on its pre-set temperature, it turns on and off automatically and resembles single-loop learning.

However, if a thought is given whether the thermostat should be set at a predetermined temperature and how the next step would be taken is a double loop learning.

Single Loop Learning Double Loop Learning
Planning leads to immediate action Planning is accompanied with critical thought process
Real learning and growth may not be visible as individuals do not share information with each other. Learning and growth joins in as experiences are shared and thought deeply.
 For example; I am doing this job.   For example: I got a new job but what are its benefits? Is there a work-life balance? Can I get something better than this?

Why Do We Need Double Loop Learning?

Whether you are in an educational institution or workplace, encouraging others to go through double-loop learning has become a necessity. A boss ordering employees to undertake a certain task may not give as great results as the brainstorming sessions combined could. Similarly, there are other benefits of double-loop learning.

A. Challenges Brain To Find Right Direction:

When an individual is willing to explore the issues that might surface in the coming future, they try to find new combinations of directions. In a work environment, the leaders become aware of the flaws and potentially damaging conditions while helping themselves in maintaining the status quo.

B. Recognizes Bad Communication Timely:

Many organizations recognize that individuality is very important as a whole but the bad communication can create blunders, this is why negative patterns of thoughts must be identified based on unnecessary defensiveness, not accepting the problems, inability to face problems and refusing to accept personal behavior.

Also Read: Communication And Mental Health: Why Is It The Key To Mental Wellness

C. Improves Relationships:

Good communication and good assessment imbibes truth, compassion and real insights. It could be done if everyone in the team is comfortable and ready to speak their hearts courageously. Leaders can equally motivate the employees while minimizing their fear of being blamed, bullied or low morale.

Also Read: 10 Relationship Hacks Unfurled By Couples Therapists

How To Imbibe Double Loop Learning On Individual Level?

1. Break Your Own Cycle Of Thoughts

One needs to add another layer of thought while making small decisions in life. However, it is necessary to not to deep dive into the clutches of overthinking. A few questions like the importance of the task, why it is being done and is there any other way to undertake action may help you. Make sure that you keep the doors of learning open.

2. Set Benchmarks For Yourself & Try Achieving Them

Not just organizations place goals for everyone, an individual must try making goals for themselves. To enhance double-loop learning within, you may need to connect with people around you and keep assessing your growth along the way. Imagining a bigger picture also helps here! Are you making progress? Are you openly asking questions? Is this the right environment for you?

3. Take Risks & Value Criticism

As double loop learning will change your way of thinking, a major shift could be experienced. Now this process may give you criticism from your seniors but you need to embrace it and reflect it in your actions. Do not worry about the instant results but allow yourself to grow from here that takes the trajectory in the right direction.

Also Read: How To Deal With Criticism Efficiently Without Being Depressed?

4. Avoid Delusive Images

Even if you are in a cheerful mode, double loop lets you recognize if this cheerfulness is readily acceptable or is just a delusion. When thoughts are cleared up, you can navigate yourself even in the muddy waters.


Being defensive in your attitude can inhibit the learning process and slow your personal progress. It is hence best to question your own assumptions and add an extra layer of thought process to it.

If the same aspect is applied by leaders of huge organizations, they can recognize psychological and social issues in the company and acknowledge them for the best possible results in work as well as employees’ mental health.

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About The Author

Akanksha Soni
Akanksha Soni

Akanksha is an active lifestyle blogger and writer at Calmsage. She has learnt various lessons on happiness and methods to fight depression through 'Gurus' as well as own experiences. An ardent practitioner of Yoga and meditation, she keeps traveling, writes and interacts with people to feel alive.

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