OOLEEE is the conceptual foundation of a unique approach to using objects as stimuli for encouraging and facilitating learning. It has been developed by Gary King and Peter Bond of Dead Cat Dreaming (DCD). OOLEEE stands for:

Object Oriented Learning through Elicitation, Evocation, and Emotioning

DCD adopts a pedagogical approach to learning which is defined as:

a change in behaviour recognised or distinguished by oneself or others that contributes positively to the ambitions, desires, goals or objectives of individuals collaborating as members of formal or informal groups.

The term ‘behaviour’ refers to acting or performances of any kind, and so includes what are commonly called processes, techniques or systems. Thus, learning is so named when an improvement in a performance, task, activity, process, or technique is recognised, howsoever it may be measured. This makes OOLEEE particularly potent in initiatives designed to improve organisation performance.

Object focused methods for promoting learning are not new. A considerable legacy of research and practice exists. For example, in anthropology, especially archaeology, in which artefacts are interrogated to learn about and reconstruct the social systems from which they emerged. Object based and mediated approaches to learning have been developed to invigorate science and art education, especially in museum settings. Susan Leigh Star, and others, developed the concept of the boundary-object which has found application in the formation of communities of practice and virtual team working. In the social study of the success and failure in science and technology projects, actor network theorists such as Bruno Latour, John Law, and Michel Callon stressed the role of objects as actors in the formation and maintenance of socio-technical networks. Philosophers, as well as anthropologists, have pondered long and hard on the nature of objects (or are they things?) and how they influence our lives as signs or symbols and works of art, while cultural theorists and psychologists explore their emotional potency.

The message DCD draws from these various interpretations is that we humans engage with objects subliminally, viscerally and vicariously. They mediate our actions and our relations with each other and they deeply effect our psyche and our behaviour. Object-human relationships are key to understanding how our organisations, communities, even families work. In other words, how our social systems work, how they perform. At DCD we have woven together the conventional and unconventional to construct a theory of our own, in which objects are said to perturb our senses so evoking memories of past experiences and attendant emotions, and eliciting connections with other objects with which we make sense of the present.

DCD has developed OOLEEE in parallel with, and as a complement to, its more conventional graphical facilitation techniques. Graphical facilitation involves an artist/facilitator in the production of (usually) large-scale imagery, such as a painting, which is both a recording of a formal group meeting and a representation of the decisions it makes. When produced, for example, as part of strategic or tactical participatory problem solving event, a painting, or rather the objects within it, represents the thoughts and feelings of individuals which are embodied in a shared vision of a future based on improved performances. A painting usually complements a more formal written statement of plan, policy or mission. Objects, such as paintings and the objects they contain, perturb our senses and thereby provoke a behavioural response. Objects appear in the human medium of operation as opportunities to learn. They invite, provoke, and facilitate learning (improvements in performance), whilst also being integral to, and supportive of, the routine processes through which an organisation or other kind of social grouping (such as a community of practice) realizes its goals or objectives. In OOLEEE, objects are treated as elements of organisational structures and thus are deemed to act as significant elements of a reference framework (Leigh Star refers to this an infrastructure) for individual and group performances. Such a framework is uniquely constructed by each and every kind of social grouping and is closely related to a common understanding of culture.

OOLEEE may have its roots in graphical facilitation, but is based on an alternative theory of language in which words, rather then conveying information, act as means of co-ordinating collective behaviour, a broader anthropological understanding and appreciation of object-human relations especially the notion that objects provide an evolving structure or frame for our daily living and working.


Then why not…