Interpreting Observation

The concept of observation in LL takes on different meanings depending upon the context. For example:
  • recording a measurement
  • detecting a problem
  • inspecting a cause
  • discovering an issue
  • watching an event
  • noticing an effect
  • seeing a situation
  • sensing a condition
Recording the method of observation is important to the LL collection process. The method of observation may verify the validity of the lesson. In some instances, more than one form of observation may be required. If so, triangulation may be desirable. Triangulation purposes to use different methods to draw the same conclusion.

For example, one project team member (PTM) may have heard about the presence of a chemical leak; whereas, another PTM may have smelled the chemical leak during the same time period. If the two instances confirm the lesson, then it may be verifiable through the process of triangulated observation.

Observation in LL may involve a combination of the senses:
  • hearing
  • seeing
  • smelling
  • tasting
  • feeling

In some cases, the PTM may desire to remain separate from lesson to ensure objectivity (non-participant observation). In other cases, the PTM may feel a need to be integrally involved. Participant observation is where the PTM is directly involved in the project activity associated with the lesson.

For example, in an ethnographic research project, involving observation, interviewing and archival study, the PTM is immersed in the culture-sharing group and becomes a participant within the setting. The may desire to know why group singing and dancing promotes belonging. So they participate in the festivities and document the experience as a lesson. The lesson may be useful in a formative context to encourage similar behavior in other cultural groups to replicate the feeling of belonging.