Chapter 9: Learning history: engaging multiple perspectives for learning
Restricted access

This chapter gives a practical introduction to the action research approach of learning history - a multi-staged, collaborative process that charts a project, occurrence or life event that was in some way significant. A Learning History document is not a convergent account but a weave of narrative, quotation and analysis usually in written form. Learning emerges from residing in an unresolved, contingent space with research participants as they reflect and inquire together throughout the process. This is a method that works close to the grain of individual experience and that opens space for learning by embracing the multiplicity of perspectives there can be on noteworthy organisational projects and life events (Bradbury, Roth & Gearty, 2015). In this chapter I discuss the role of the learning historian alongside a step-by-step guide to the methodological framework. I discuss the decisions and dilemmas involved in learning history practice and discuss how the epistemological position at the boundary between research paradigms opens interesting questions of practice for the researcher/change practitioner as lifeworlds meet system (Kemmis, 2001) in organisational life. The chapter will trace the philosophical underpinnings and origins of learning history in the wider field of organisational learning and its connections to oral history. The chapter sets out learning history as a methodology of potential interest to research students who are inclined towards action research or narrative approaches or interested in developing their skills and reflexive capacities by adopting a learning historian position. Likewise, the potential for the method to support layers of learning within and between organisations may be of interest to organisational change practitioners. In the spirit of the method, this chapter weaves two voices together: my more personal storied voice counterpoints my more formal guidance and discussion.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Other access options

Redeem Token

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institutional Access

Personal login

Log in with your Elgar Online account

Login with your Elgar account