double loop learning

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Double loop learning is a learning process which introduces the possibility to change the decision maker's worldview based on the feedback resulting from the actions of decisions. An element of worldview or mental models is added outside the causal loop of single loop learning, making the model a double-loop, with the second loop consisting of:

  1. feedback on results of the actions (a single loop element)
  2. existing worldviews or mental models (the new double loop element)
  3. decisions (a single loop element)

This second loop can be both a reinforcing and a balancing loop. It is a reinforcing loop when the feedback reinforces the worldview or mental models. It is a balancing loop when the feedback challenges and changes them. In order for balancing to occur, the purpose of the first loop must include the desire to continuously improve beliefs about the real world.

(Heracleous, 2003, 43) ""Double-loop learning...occurs when the correction of mismatches is arrived at by examining and altering the governing variables for action and then the actions themselves.""