Operational Learning

Tools and methods to understand how work is really done and empower meaningful change.

A fundamental principle of HOP is a commitment to learning and improving. Listening and learning about work provides the learning and insights for an informed leadership team which, in turn, allows for better decision-making.

But identifying where and what to learn is key. What should we learn about and who will help us to learn?

What is Operational Learning?

While it’s true to say we want to improve organisational learning across the board, operational learning is generally focused on two key areas: post-event learning and learning from normal work.

Methods and tools for learning from accidents and events have become prevalent, but the question is often still pondered – do our existing methods facilitate sensemaking and learning? Many tools are more focused on identifying perceived causes, often those most proximate in nature, rather than seeking to build a deeper understanding of how an event can or did happen.

The everyday normal interactions of work are often overlooked as part of typical hazard identification and risk management exercises, yet many conditions required for an accident are present in normal work. Operational Learning provides the proactive means to learn and improve before negative events occur, improving both the work and safety performance.

We guide organisations to develop the skills and tools to become effective at operational learning. This can range from formalising existing structures around how in-field conversations happen or initiating significant change with the introduction of new tools, including Learning Teams and Fields Insights.

Operational Learning provides organisational intelligence.

“Not being a spy, but being someone who can hold up a mirror reflecting the organisation back to itself.” (Rae)

Operational Learning  Tools


Learning Teams are facilitated conversations between those that do the work and those that manage the work. Participants share operational insight, experience and stories, with the aim of improving how work is done.


Field Insights involve directly engaging with key stakeholders in their roles to examine how people at various levels within the organisation create success, and the conditions that influence their actions, behaviours and decisions.


Event Learning Review provides an alternative solution to the traditional investigation. Event Learning allows for greater flexibility, whilst still providing a framework, to learn from incidents or accidents in a way that brings the impacted workers into the conversation in an empowering way.

The goal of the HOPLAB is to help organisations and individuals to learn and reflect

Subscribe to the HOP|LAB® Newsletter

Get the latest information and insights on Human and Organisational Performance delivered to your inbox.