Certain conditions are critical for the establishment and success of a learning organisation and there are parallels here to the practices of effective pedagogy in an inquiry based learning environment. If our goal is to have every member of an organisation contribute to the learning that occurs then we must establish a culture that allows this to occur. Feelings of safety, acceptance of diversity and risk taking must become parts of the culture. In our classes we establish the conditions where our students feel safe sharing their ideas even when they do not conform with the majority. We establish a belief that there are often multiple correct answers and in doing so foster creativity. The same conditions are required in our learning organisations. Nurturing a learning organisation is a little like nurturing a garden and Tim Brown echoes this sentiment ""It's about nurturing the conditions in which creativity is most likely to happen, That's really about culture, environment, rituals—the sorts of things that give people permission to explore, that encourage open-mindedness, collaboration, experimentation, and risk taking."
By championing the importance of understanding, teachers can inadvertently set their students up for failure as those students blunder in illusions of competence. As one (failing) engineering student recently told me: “I just don’t see how I could have done so poorly. I understood it when you taught it in class.” My student may have thought he’d understood it at the time, and perhaps he did, but he’d never practiced using the concept to truly internalize it. He had not developed any kind of procedural fluency or ability to apply what he thought he understood.
Time after time, professors in mathematics and the sciences have told me that building well-ingrained chunks of expertise through practice and repetition was absolutely vital to their success. Understanding doesn’t build fluency; instead, fluency builds understanding. In fact, I believe that true understanding of a complex subject comes only from fluency.
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