Footprints of Emergence Summary

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Footprints of Emergence

Nov 18-29, 2013 | SCoPE Discussion


Assessing Emergent Learning

  • Is it possible to assess emergent learning? How do you 'capture' learning that is not expected? How do you measure or value it? Are these the right questions or are they flawed?
  • Would it be possible to ask for emergent learning as a result of a course? Would EL be expected when a student is doing synchronously two courses in different fields? 
  • What is the purpose of the assessment? To provide meaningful feedback to the learner?
  • Why the need to measure?
  • Is diagnostic reasoning the same as emergent learning? Can we afford to have our doctors' knowledge be emergent as they practice on us? 
  • Does the act of 'measuring/assessing' destroy what it is trying to 'measure/assess'?
  • One thought I have is that ‘learning’ overall is about some kind of change .... So maybe somehow the question is ...  Can the Change be 'described' / measured / reported ....? 
  • I prefer the notion of assessing learning against self, but how could this work from a teacher/trainer's point of view?
  • I would venture that all learning involves a transformation of identity. As it is mostly gradual this is not sufficiently recognised. Take a moment to think about it in your own terms.Then think about the absurdity of assessing that change against externally imposed criteria. Who are you working for when you do that? Whose agenda?
  • What happens when the "emergent learning artefact" is a behaviour, or an attitude, or something so ingrained that the artefact is the learner?
  • Does emergent learning have to produce something unique or odd?
  • The difficult question is What is New or what is Unique.
  • How do we get to the person as product of themselves over person as "product" of education. Before we claim that something we did caused learning we need evidence they were listening to us. Would this be an Artifact?
  • "just tell me what I need to do . . .".  This is not only the attitude of students but professors - rubrics so that they can quantify the learning in some way and they tell themselves they are moving from subjectivity to objectivity - and what happened to expert opinion?  How to get to the "rethinking of education?"

Designing for Emergent Learning

  • Can we design for emergent learning or is that a contradiction in terms?
  • The tension for me in terms of design is "who" is doing the designing and what is the intention of the design?
  • Humans can’t make things appear from nothing but we can imagine things, build them, operate them and then think about thinking about them so we come pretty close to the emergence of things already. Why not then design a process for emergence?
  • I wonder if encountering the world as it is rather than as it is modeled to be forces us to realize a wider spectrum of working strategies?

Natural Learning?

  • On the other hand how do we avoid turning people OFF learning because we make them 'start here'  when they have already gone past that?
  • Years ago I was an early years teacher and have been through the 'should we let reading emerge through a real books approach to reading?' i.e. just let children handle and browse through books they like and learn to read because they love books - or should we teach them to read through a structured introduction to phonics and a decoding approach?

Welcome to Footprints of Emergence

  • wonder if receptivity to emergence can be learned or taught?
  • Why do you think school beats this out of children - and in what forms do you think it is fundamentally there? How do adults draw on these early experiences? Or what do we do in our education systems that inhibits emergent learning?
  • If emergence is unpredictable, how can we design for it?
  • The other response may be orderly, purposeful and, possibly, goal directed, like learning to knit by trial and error--which I think reveals an innate human need to work things out. Is that need something we could leverage?
  • How much control is too much here? Or maybe "control" is too loaded a term and I should use preferable or productive pushing which would allow us to have a purpose for learning over a strictly defined goal?
  • I would also be interested to hear more about how you think transformational learning might be recognised. How would you define transformational learning?
  • It could be possible the constraints you've mentioned are meant to prevent our drifiting out beyond our ability to recover sense from what we experience?
  • Can you think of examples where the balance between prescriptive and emergent learning has or hasn't worked?
  • The question is, does the visualisation tool work? - for different people, contexts, courses, dynamics, and all the different aspect of learning 
  • Do we need to somehow designate a space specifically for learning or is it possible for people to realize this on their own?
  • Wonder if the need to remind people they are in a learning space is a means of calling a particular learning process to front of mind?
  • But emergence seems different and not so tightly bound to cause and effect? Emergence seems like the embodyment of the unexpected?
  •  So far, I am getting a sense that emergence is "dynamic" in a natural sort of way which means it might be paradoxical to try to "manage" "emergence"?


Barbara Berry

Brenda Kaulback

Christine Horgan

Deirdre Bonnycastle

Don Beadle

Glenn Groulx


Kathleen Zarubin

Peter Rawsthorne

Phillip Rutherford

Roy Williams

Scott Johnson