The Learning System

A learning system enables a group of people to come together to share and learn about a particular topic, to build knowledge and speed up improved outcomes. It connects and influences people and develops their understanding.

This diagram explains how to establish a learning system and outlines its core components.

An image detailining the learning system purpose, who needs to be involved, and how it reduces inequality.

© The Learning System, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, (draft) 2020.

This is a working draft document describing a generic approach for use at any level of the system. Many learning systems already exist, and we will improve this work as we learn from them. You can give us feedback through the email address at the bottom of the page.


A learning system should:

  • support individuals to learn through its culture and networks
  • be informed by evaluation and reflective practice
  • enable people to assess what is and isn’t working through the use of qualitative and quantitative data, stories and insights
  • develop processes to aid decision-making and turn knowledge into action
  • build systems to identify “bright spots” and generalisable learning

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For more information, questions or comments please email

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