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International development organisations are continually urged to do things better by learning more from their experiences. For this, organisational learning is crucial. But developing organisational learning capacity does not just happen: it requires a conscious effort, which at its core involves jointly making sense of experiences.
This Praxis Paper takes the stand that self-knowledge — understanding how you learn — is an essential first step in improving your own learning processes. Supporting people and organisations to reflect on their own learning processes and capacity is central to assisting people and organisations to learn.
The paper explores how action research, in which the researcher and respondents in an organisation jointly make sense of their organisational learning, can be a worthwhile way to support organisational learning. The paper concludes with practical implications for those involved in organisational learning processes in international development organisations: learners, managers, consultants and researchers.