This is probably my favourite model that has roots in organisational behaviour and psychology.
The Single Loop
The first loop involves formulating a strategy, actioning/executing it, and then doing the same provided outcomes from the first iteration of the loop. Note: outcomes might be intended or unintended and can impact the person in the loop or people outside of the loop.
The worst case scenario here is that the same action is repeated over and over and over – producing undesirable outcomes just as many times over.
The Double Loop
The second loop involves a governing variable; a control introduced for observation. The control is then used to adjust the actions and strategies to produce more intended outcomes – or outcomes that match your variable.
It’s your wife’s birthday.
Consequences of each strategy:
At this point you’re in a single learning loop. A double learning loop would introduce controls, or variables, or values.
You’ll quickly see that introducing controls and matching them with the consequences will almost indisputably change your actions. If you see this, you see the double learning loop.