Lessons management framework (EM-LEARN)

The Victorian emergency management sector supports a culture of continuous improvement by:

  • Encouraging the sector to share lessons, both positive actions to sustain and areas for improvement
  • Encouraging learning from both assurance activities and contemporary good practice
  • Focusing on systems of work, rather than the performance of individuals
  • Recognising that identifying and implementing sustainable solutions takes time, resources and opportunity

In November 2015, Victoria’s first sector-wide lessons management framework, EM-LEARN, was approved. This framework further supports the development of a culture of continuous improvement and outlines a model for lessons management and how it will be implemented into the sector, particularly operational activities initially.

Lessons management involves the identification and learning of lessons captured through assurance and learning activities (including debriefing, monitoring and reviews) occurring before, during and after emergencies. This process of moving from identifying lessons to learning lessons is guided by the lessons management life cycle within the EM-LEARN Framework, which aims to provide a shared understanding of what lessons management means for the Victorian Emergency Management sector

The lessons management process is supported by five (5) cultural characteristics (just/fair, leadership, accountability, communication, learning focused) which supports the development of a culture allowing the process of identifying lessons and learning lessons to occur effectively and continuously before, during and after emergencies. 


Lessons Management simple diagram

Lessons management is about giving people the opportunity to share their experiences and learn from others to ensure we continuously improve into the future. The long term vision is for lessons management to support assurance and learning processes and activities for all communities, all hazards, all phases, all agencies and all levels, to support behaviour change, future service delivery planning and improving organisational performance.

Victoria is seeing a shift towards a learning and improvement culture. We are slowly moving away from recommendations and towards lessons, away from reports and towards case studies and away from action tracking and towards monitoring improvement.

Once the life cycle is implemented and functioning effectively, lessons management in the emergency management sector will be:

  • Integrated,
  • Evidence-based,
  • Continuous,
  • Consistent;
  • Transparent, and
  • Holistic

 “Successful knowledge transfer involves neither computers nor documents but rather interactions between people.” - Thomas H. Davenport

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