Learning
Ecosystems

An Emerging Praxis for The Future Of Education

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Report Abstract

The increasingly complex and interdependent environmental, social, economic, and cultural challenges facing humanity within our biosphere indicate a clear need for societal transformation toward viable and life affirming futures. Learning ecosystems have the potential to unite diverse stakeholders in collective learning for mutually beneficial outcomes that lead toward desired futures for humanity and all life on Earth. Throughout this report diverse case studies reflect emerging approaches to the co-development of learning ecosystems from around the world inspired and influenced by the fields of biology, ecology, social movements, technology, cosmology, design, innovation, systems leadership and more. This research also builds upon the 2018 Global Education Futures report “Educational Ecosystems for Societal Transformation”. The insights reflected in this report explore (1) the skills, knowledge, and ways of being that support life-long and self-directed learning, (2) approaches to ecosystemic learning, and (3) how educational systems can support collective flourishing, shifting our global society toward long-term resilience and thriving. Learning ecosystems are emerging as an interdisciplinary response to the increasing complexity of the 21st century at a time when humanity is changing the very trajectory of evolution on Earth, and needing to reckon with our choices to date as a species. Learning ecosystems offer a potential praxis for the future of education that can profoundly shift the way we learn and shape our future together for collective liberation.

“The more interdependent the world becomes, the more we need great collaborators and orchestrators. Innovation is rarely the product of individuals working in isolation, but rather an outcome of how we mobilize, share and integrate knowledge. The well-being of societies depends increasingly on people’s capacity to take collective action.”

“This report not only develops a coherent framework for future-oriented learning ecosystems that can enable and facilitate a lifelong and lifewide learning culture — it also illustrates how designers, connectors, storytellers and sensemakers can implement this framework successfully.”

From the foreword by Andreas Schleicher

From the foreword by Andreas Schleicher

Director for Education and Skills, OECD

Drawn from 40 case studies of learning ecosystems around the world:

Learning Ecosystems

Learning and education can be a leverage point for us to co-create and implement pathways towards a sustainable and regenerative future. It is imperative then, to avoid mass extinction or global war, that we evolve our education systems so that we can learn how to live together in the 21st century and beyond.

Learning ecosystems are interconnected relationships organising lifelong learning. They can also be described as intentional webs of relational learning which are dynamic, evolving, and enable greater diversity when fostering lifelong learning opportunities. They connect learners and community to develop individual and collective capacity. The purpose of learning ecosystems is to offer pathways for learners to actively co-create thrivable futures for people, places and our planet:

Personal

a. Improved self care and wellbeing
b. Connection to self, local community and wider world
c. Increased individual value, purpose and meaning
d. Personal sustainable income generation
e. Greater mastery through lifelong learning pathways
f. Passionate changemakers
g. Holistic growth
h. Establish significant connections with nature and living systems

Place-based

a. Enable potential for all
b. Foster skills and opportunities for all
c. Develop diverse lifelong learning experiences
d. Create networks of support
e. Reveal collective wisdom feeds community
f. Engage with democracy and citizenship
g. Facilitate changemakers
h. Enhance innovation

Planetary

a. Increased systemic changes to overcome collective challenges
b. Recognition of unique purpose and capabilities of humans
c. Linked together different ways of becoming
d. Greater equity, inclusivity & diversity
e. Cultivation of processes of healing
f. Unlocking of universal wellbeing
g. Developed collective consciousness
h. Evolved connective and collective intelligence for collective wisdom & growth
i. Creation of the skeleton/nervous system of the global civilisation

Ecosystems have a paradoxical ability to maintain both the unity and the variety for an advantageous way of governing” – and the figure next to it

Learning ecosystems as defined by ecosystem leaders today identify three elements that are integral to their essence of being

The shift from industrial education to ecosystemic learning requires a seismic shift in leadership. Ecosystem leadership is emerging as a potential pathway to unlearn, reimagine, and relearn how to both learn and lead together as we co-create life affirming futures together that work for all. We identify a variety of roles and competencies ecosystem leaders play when cultivating learning ecosystems as well as the roles played by diverse actors within learning ecosystems – within a spectrum of what we call gardening and weaving in evolving learning ecosystems.

“The possibility of a world full of interconnected learning ecosystems that share the common interest of interrelated wellbeing across diverse cultural, religious, economic and political paradigms, is invigorating and encouraging. It also seems our best bet as a conscious cultural evolutionary strategy. Learning ecosystems that foment creativity and diversity while promoting accords are essential if we are to thrive.”

“This report represents a learning ecosystem researching itself.”

From the afterword by Victoria Haro

From the afterword by Victoria Haro

Victoria Haro, Co-founder & Lead Weaver Universidad del Medio Ambiente (University of the Environment): Mexico,
& Co-founder The Weaving Lab

Pavel Luksha

Pavel Luksha

Co-founder, Global Education Futures

Jessica Spencer-Keyse

Jessica Spencer-Keyse

Freelance Researcher

Joshua Cubista

Joshua Cubista

Founder Evolution Lab. and Co-Founder GEF

Published by:

Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO & Global Education Futures

For more information:

For more information and to explore opportunities for collaboration visit Global Education Futures: www.globaledufutures.org, or send an email  to pim.van.geest@globaledufutures.org

© 2020 Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO and    Global Education Futures

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