Learning Triangle

The Learning Triangle, as a model, represents the interplay and interdependence of what you “know” and what you “do.” It describes the relationship between using theory to inform experience and action, and using what you learn from experience and action to inform theory. That relationship and how it plays itself out for a learner is the definition of praxis. As a method, the Learning Triangle provides insights that can inform your action as you create a more engaging and productive learning ecology for others to build their own praxis.


The Learning Triangle represents the self-organizing process that occurs when individuals bring together their theoretical knowledge and challenges with their practical knowledge and challenges to produce new learning. It is the process of building praxis.

At each level, new learning feeds back into practice, resulting in further learning. These iterative cycles continue to build new theory and practice as the individual continues to enrich the theory base and hone skills.

So What?

Using the Learning Triangle, you can consider how praxis emerges from the interplay between theory and practice. You can consider how to balance the two sides of the triangle in a number of situations

As a trainer or teacher, you can use the Learning Triangle as a way to consider the balance between theory and action as you present new material. Giving learners time to understand the theory

  • Stand in inquiry, watching for gaps and opportunities in instructional design
  • Assess an individual’s current performance and learning to determine next steps

Now What?

Use the Learning Triangle in your next sticky issue to:

  • See the relationships between theory and practice in your sticky issue to identify possible sources of tension you see
  • Understand the source of the imbalance between theory and practice that is generating that tension
  • Take wise action to create a more creative, generative level of tension across your system
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