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Learning Organizations MSM 620 Portfolio Project Jeremy Davis 7 April 2011

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Learning Organizations MSM 620 Portfolio Project Jeremy Davis 7 April 2011. Overview. Define: Learning Organizations Interview: Captain Frank Christiana, Assistant Professor Aerospace Studies, Air Force ROTC Detachment 400, Michigan Technological University Discussion Summary.

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Presentation Transcript
  • Define: Learning Organizations
  • Interview: Captain Frank Christiana,

Assistant Professor Aerospace Studies,

Air Force ROTC Detachment 400,

Michigan Technological University

  • Discussion
  • Summary
definition learning organization
Definition: Learning Organization

A learning organization is an organization that continually pursues five learning disciplines.

1. Personal Mastery: Discipline of clarifying our personal visions, development of patience, and viewing reality through objective lenses.

2. Analyzing our mental models and opening our minds to alternative thinking.

definition learning organization cont
Definition: Learning Organization Cont.

3. Building a shared vision of the future that fosters involvement rather than compliance.

4. Learning as a team and overcoming all distractions that prevent individual and team learning.

5. Systematic thinking, the ability to see the interworking fabric and how they affect each other as well as how they will play out. (Wagner, 1991)

definition according to peter senge 1990
Definition: According to Peter Senge (1990)

“Organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.” (Senge, 1990)

interview captain frank christiana
Interview: Captain Frank Christiana
  • Disclaimer:

All thoughts in this interview are those of Frank Christiana and do not represent the position of the United States Air Force,

Air Force ROTC, Detachment 400, or Michigan Technological University.

interview question 1
Interview: Question 1
  • Q: What do you think is key to creating an effective learning organization?
  • A: Without a doubt, flexible leadership.  Leaders must be able to read internal and external forces affecting an organization and act accordingly.  In the case of the USAF, external forces are driven by overseas operations and current budget constraints. Given this, it may not always be possible to deliver information in a traditional classroom setting.  Leadership must find alternate means to keep the force up to date.  Also, internally, personnel are always turning over.  As we bring in the next generation of Airmen, we must adapt our training techniques to what works best for them.  While I personally don’t like Computer Based Training (CBTs) modules as a vehicle to deliver information, the next generation may actually prefer them. 
interview question 2
Interview: Question 2
  • Q: Would you classify the Air Force as a learning organization, how does the AF currently promote the learning environment, and is this transferred into an everyday life for the members of the USAF?
  • A: The Air Force prides itself on being the technical branch of the Dept of Defense.  As leaders we encourage higher education at all levels, and the Air Force has many programs in place to improve accessibility for our Airmen.  In the past several years the AF increased tuition assistance from 75% to 100%.  Universities are recruited to conduct classes not only on base, but even in deployed environments.  Leaders are also encouraged to allow Airmen to study while on duty.  In terms of highest level of education achieved the results are quite impressive.  As of March 2011 20% of the Enlisted Corps have their Associate’s degree and 6% have their Bachelor’s degree.  69% report having 12 or more hours of college credits. 
interview question 3
Interview: Question 3
  • Q: How has the AF changed its learning style since you came in?
  • A: When I joined the Air Force in 1997 the Basic Training curriculum focused mostly on attention to detail.  As they explained to us we were most likely to be mechanics on a flight-line, and that it was important that everything was perfect for when we “sent our officers (pilots) off to war.”  Since 9/11 our mission and our training have changed.  Basic Trainees are now taught the skills of ground combat and how to operate effectively in an expeditionary environment.  This is a huge difference from folding t-shirts and underwear into perfect 6 inch squares…
interview question 4
Interview: Question 4
  • Q: What are some of the current programs that are in place to promote this type of learning environment, and do you feel they are effective in the ever changing atmosphere in which the AF operates in?
  • A: One program that comes to mind is pre-deployment Combat Skills Training, usually set in a joint environment with the US Army.  I believe it is affective in how our Airmen now get the skills they need to survive on the front lines. 
interview question 5
Interview: Question 5
  • Q: Do you foresee any new programs that may modify or change the current programs for the future?
  • A: It’s very difficult to speculate.  20 years ago we never fathomed the impact that the internet would have on society.  I would guess whatever this “thing” is will probably be digital in nature and deliver information more efficiently than what we have today.  I do see group training classes taking a backseat to personalized modules for individuals
interview question 6
Interview Question 6
  • Q: Looking back, has there been any key programs that has promoted the development of your leadership style, did these same programs also help or assist in the development of your managerial roles?
  • A: I would have to say the AF mentoring program was pivotal in my career.  Not necessarily for its “formal” component of using a database to match people together, (which NOBODY uses), but rather for its informal lessons; for example, explaining how a supervisor becomes a mentor, or, from the other point of view, who to seek out as your own mentor.  I believe experiential learning is superior to anything we can read in a book.  You can’t ask a book questions.  Leaders should look for any opportunity to steer someone in the right direction based upon their own experiences rather than simply giving the answer
  • The Air Force provides numerous programs to foster a learning environment.
    • Tuition Assistance
      • Partnerships with Universities to provide education
    • Computer-Based Training
    • Mentorship programs
discussion cont
Discussion Cont.
  • Future programs are ever evolving to create a fast-past environment that can adapt to any changes that are faced.
  • Development of Joint Force training allows individuals from different services to develop new experiences and knowledge
  • Defined: Learning Organization
  • Interview with Captain Frank Christiana
  • Brief Discussion
  • Senge, P. M. (1990). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. New York: Currency Doubleday.
  • Wagner, C. G. (1991, September/‌October). The Learning Organization --The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization [Review of the book Fifth Discipline]. The Futurist, 25(5), 41.