Emergent Design and Learning Environments – building on Indigenous Knowledge

The empirical basis of this paper is a two-year project to bring new learning environments and methodologies to rural Thailand. Pilot projects were mounted outside of the education system, with the specific purpose of breaking “educational mind-sets” that have been identified as blocks to educational reform. A salient example of such a mind-set is the assumption that the population and teachers of rural areas lack the cognitive foundations for modern technological education. The work required a flexible approach to the design of digitally based educational interventions. Analysis of design issues led to a theoretical framework, Emergent Design, for investigating how choice of design methodology contributes to the success or failure of education reforms. A practice of “applied epistemological anthropology,” which consists of probing for skills and knowledge resident in a community and using these as bridges to new content, was developed. Analysis of learning behaviors led to the identification of an “engine culture” in rural Thailand as an unrecognized source of “latent learning potential.” This discovery has begun to spawn a theoretical inquiry with significant promise for assessment of the learning potential of developing countries.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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