All entries for Tuesday 27 March 2007

March 27, 2007

Old Chinese Philosophy, Reflective Learning (Blogging) and Organisational Learning

Last week I have read a book called “the Philosophy of Zhuang Zi”, Zhuang Zi is one of the most famous philosophers in the history of Chinese civilisation. He was believed living in around 369 B.C.. Most of his philosophy is about the attitude towards human life in order to optimally harmonise with the surrounding environment (system). There is a small section about philosophy of learning and understanding. He developed this philosophy from the ancient Buddhism theories which is described as one Chinese word “Jue Wu”, where the direct dictionary translates into English is “consciousness” or “enlightenment” which is a state of deep understanding. This word contains two Chinese characters, where “Jue” means a quick understanding by observation, which is a sensational understanding of certain knowledge; the second character “Wu” means understanding by my heart, which means as the time past by, the knowledge is deeply embedded into somebody’s heart. By combining the two characters together, the word shows that adoption of knowledge is a growing process, where observation and understanding is the first stage, on the other hand to embed (grow) this into somebody’s behaviour is the last stage. To understanding that adopting knowledge is a process between both stages and complete the whole process, could enable someone to apply knowledge in various situations. This old Chinese philosophy is provided as a thorough understanding of the true meaning of learning (direction) and how to learn (the approach).

This old philosophy reminds me with Paul’s encouragement of reflective learning—blogging. A reflective learner shares the similar philosophy of Zhuang Zi’s definition of learning. Blogging is not only a way of recording the reflection of knowledge, but also a process of embedding the knowledge into somebody’s vein. The beauty of this activity is to make us to think and think again. Through this process of understanding and accessing this knowledge, gradually we could apply this into our behaviour. Although blogging cannot be regarded as the full process, it can be an effective approach of the learning progress (reflection) during the process. Moreover, to become to a reflective learner, not only in terms of theoretical, but also in terms of practical, which could assist us gain the full benefit of learning?

This philosophy can not only be applied in individual learning, but also can be applied in organisational learning. In terms of organisational learning, R. Ackoff’s journal named “From Data to Wisdom” shared similar idea. This philosophy of learning process is regarded as the transformation from individual tacit knowledge to organizational explicit knowledge. When the tacit knowledge is generated by people within the organisation, it can only be called “Jue”; whereas after period of time, the individual tacit knowledge transformed into explicit organisational knowledge, then it can be called “Wu”. The organisational learning is to constantly repeat this process, and in order to gain the full benefit of the knowledge. By embedding this process into the organisation’s culture, thus the organization become a learning organisation. Moreover, in terms of management of knowledge, this philosophy of learning could also provide a principle for the management of knowledge.


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  • Good insight. Would you please tell me where the buddhism history originated, from any paticular doc… by Weiss on this entry
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  • A good reflection Ray. Leadership is about influencing the thoughts and activities of followers towa… by Paul Roberts on this entry
  • The thing that really stuck out of your blog for me was the tobacco companies example, and I basical… by on this entry
  • hi wan, thanks very much for your comments, maybe it is a kind of chinese thought that we all share.… by on this entry

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