Risk management (RM) comprises of risk identification, risk analysis, response planning, monitoring and action planning tasks that are carried out throughout the life cycle of a project in order to ensure that project objectives are met. Although the methodological aspects of RM are well-defined, the philosophical background is rather vague. In this paper, a learning-based approach is proposed. In order to implement this approach in practice, a tool has been developed to facilitate construction of a lessons learned database that contains risk-related information and risk assessment throughout the life cycle of a project. The tool is tested on a real construction project. The case study findings demonstrate that it can be used for storing as well as updating risk-related information and finally, carrying out a post-project appraisal. The major weaknesses of the tool are identified as, subjectivity of the risk rating process and unwillingness of people to enter information about reasons of failure. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.