Build a learning system and habit of learning, sharing with and seeking knowledge from others

Spread and adoption - learningSpread and adoption necessitate altering individual and organisational practices [usual routines] and mindsets to new ones, therefore requiring continual learning which generates knowledge to inform practice from both what goes right and what does not.

Embed the ability to learn in structures and processes at every level, reinforced through the culture and behaviour of all staff. Developing a culture of continual learning means sharing, seeking and using knowledge from experience and publications

Seek learning – from own adaptation and adoption or from others’ experience

  • Learning can be gained from experience, what you are doing [adapting and adopting] and achieving benefit and from others including via publications and formal learning opportunities.
  • Psychological safety enables learning and is needed to deliver high achieving work. Provide a supportive, safe setting [psychological safety] enabling staff, service users and carers to learn new practices and skills, speak up about what is and isn’t working and the resulting impact and fuel their motivation, energy and interest in spread.
  • Conscious learning requires people to want to learn, so requires motivation and energy. See individual principle for more information. In addition to motivation and energy, individuals require the necessary skills and the opportunity to play an active role in spread
  • Learning can be via informal or formal methods and can sometimes feel messy, complex and emergent.
  • Seek out knowledge from others on a particular innovation or spread approach, to increase the likelihood of you achieving sustainable adoption

Reflect on insights – what learning means for own practice and /or for others’ practice

  • Aim for ongoing collection, coordination and sharing of knowledge, building a qualitative and quantitative evidence base on the impact and adoption process. Use local rapid feedback and evaluation [formative and summative], including on unintended consequences and sustainability.

Share learning – within your context and wider

  • Sharing knowledge and the evaluation of innovation adoption and impact in practice helps create a culture of learning
  • Share knowledge and connect with others to accelerate the spread of innovation, of yours or of others.
  • Formal and informal networks [hyperlink to networks] [colleagues, peer to peer, opportunistic, social media] can enable knowledge sharing and seeking, including with innovators

More details on Learning in further resources.

Back to top

Applying this principle to practice

Consider these questions which will be of varying relevance depending on your context.

To further develop a culture of learning:

  • How well is learning [formal and informal] recognised and understood within your system?
  • What needs to be done to ensure psychological safety at different levels of the system to enable your plans for spread and adoption of innovation?
  • How will you help adopters want to learn by raising motivation and energy?
  • How and what knowledge will be collected? Consider learning from what you are doing and what you are achieving.
  • How will the collected knowledge inform your work?
  • How and with whom will knowledge be shared?
  • What knowledge have you gained from others to inform your work?
  • What networks [formal and informal] can you use to enable sharing and seeking of knowledge?

Back to top

You may find the following helpful, also see practical tools and methods, further resources and systems convening

Back to top

Read the glossary

This guidance is primarily offered to support system leaders. Please send all feedback here.