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Building A Learning Organization


A nonprofit organization committed to future growth and effectiveness must become a learning organization. The rapid increase in new knowledge and the pace of change itself demand that individuals and organizations become continuous learners. Beginning in 1990 with the path breaking book The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge, a new way of leading and managing organizations based on the principles of organizational learning has spread throughout the world.

Much has been written about learning organizations. Michael O’Brien, an organizational consultant, defines the learning organization in this way: "A learning organization is one that has woven a continuous and enhanced capacity to learn, adapt, and change into the fabric of its character. It has values, policies, practices, programs, systems, and structures that support and accelerate organizational learning." What is the relevance of the learning organization for your agency?

This session will provide a practical introduction to the principles, practices and models of learning organizations. The course will include a variety of exercises, worksheets, planning guides and assessment tools for practical application of the concepts back home. The session manual will also include a resource bibliography.


  • Definition of a learning organization
  • Why nonprofits need to become learning organizations
  • The five disciplines of the learning organization: Personal Mastery, Mental Models, Shared Vision, Team Learning, and Systems Thinking
  • Why systems thinking is the core competency of learning organizations
  • Factors that inhibit organizational learning
  • Applying the principles and practices of the learning organization
  • How to link the learning organization and the strategic planning process
  • Assessing your organization and getting started


Board leaders and professional staff of nonprofit organizations, especially board officers, executive directors, human resource directors, planners, chairs of planning committees will benefit from this program.

"Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have — and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up." James Belasco and Ralph Stayer  View Past Quotes

2014 Creative Information Systems 

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Revised: December 15, 2014