Helping agencies learn from experience
The ultimate aim of the research explained in Hazard Note 34 is to help emergency management staff and volunteers to function more effectively in increasingly complex environments. Its overall approach is to help agencies to ‘learn how to learn’, so they understand how to embed effective learning practices and systems into their organisation’s culture. The experiential learning model, which is grounded in real-world experiences rather than classroom training, is a key focus.
Broad challenges have been identified that agencies need to manage in order to enhance and sustain learning. These include shifting value from action post an event, to reflection, focusing on the bigger picture and allowing enough time to effectively embed the new practices after an emergency.
No organisation can forgo learning. All experiences provide opportunities for learning to occur. A key insight for agencies interested in facilitating improvements in learning is to locate potential weak links in the learning cycle and to develop a better understanding of how to learn.
Kenney CM, Phibbs SR, Paton D, Reid J and Johnston DM (2015), Community-led disaster risk management: A māori response to ōtautahi (Christchurch) earthquakes, Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies 19(1), pp. 9-20.
Owen C, Bearman C, Brooks B, Curnin S, Fitzgerald K, Grunwald J and Rainbird S (2015), Decision making, team monitoring and organisational performance in emergency management, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC.
Owen C, Krusel N and Bethune L (2016), Report on Research Utilisation Review for AFAC and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, Melbourne.