Returning to Emergent Learning

Footprints of Emergence

Following our (Roy Williams, Simone Gumtau and me) last publication in IRRODL – Footprints of Emergence – we have continued to think about the factors which influence the potential for emergent learning in any given learning environment or curriculum.

In May we published a paper ‘Open Research and Open Learning’ in Journal Campus Virtuales. Many thanks to the Editors for inviting us to do this. In this paper we explore our own work in open research and open learning and this has caused us to reflect further on the relationship between prescribed and emergent learning, structure and agency. I have also uploaded a copy of the paper to this blog  –  see Publications 

This week Roy has run a workshop at the Digital Pedagogies Unconference at University College, London.  At an unconference you are never quite sure whether or not you will get a hearing, but Roy did get a slot and had an interesting discussion with those who attended.

At the end of this month, we will run a workshop for the ELESIG Community – ELESIG Summer symposium . Here is a link to the details of our session –

We are looking forward to this, particularly since Fred Garnett will be there, also doing a presentation about his WikiQuals Project. Fred has also developed an Emergent Learning Model  so it will be interesting to finally meet him and swop notes  🙂

Finally we are delighted that our proposal for a workshop (one of only 11) has been accepted by ALT-C for their conference in September – Building New Cultures of Learning  The last ALT-C Conference I went to was in  2005. As fortune would have it, Stephen Downes was a keynote speaker then and will be again this year in 2013. I am looking forward to hearing hime speak again. I can still remember the keynote he gave in 2005.

We have posted details of the workshop we will run at ALT-C 2013 in our open wiki – Footprints of Emergence (I should say Roy’s open wiki – he is the one who does most of the work on it :-)).

See ALT-C Presentation for an outline of our session.

We are still working on the wiki and expect it to have changed and developed before September when the ALT-C conference runs.

So, there’s lots to work on in the coming months.

3 thoughts on “Returning to Emergent Learning

  1. helinur July 9, 2013 / 10:42 am

    Hi Jenny,
    I read your paper Open Research and Open Learning and it got me to remember my CCK08 experiences. I noticed Roy participating in the forums and I thought that he should be the facilitator (he was to me). I stopped to feed the troll, but new participants came and tried to understand her. She asked George about his career and he tried not to answer. I thought it was a good question when they said to be open.
    – So the story was well written and touched me. But what is research and what makes it open: the materials in a wiki or?

    I am still working on your footsteps of emergence.. Some day I’ll understand your way to think 🙂

  2. jennymackness July 10, 2013 / 8:38 pm

    Hi Heli – thanks for taking the time to read our paper and post a comment here. It’s interesting that I don’t remember interacting with Roy at all in the forums during CCK08, but I have worked with him ever since!

    What is research – that’s a big question that I’ll leave to others more qualified than me to answer, but I liked Stephen Downes recent article – Against Digital Research Methods

    What makes it open? Well – publishing in open journals is a good start. Open sharing of data where possible – as is now happening in MOOCs – is also good. This includes all the content in a MOOC. Quite a lot of researchers are also beginning to openly share their developmental writing and thinking. That is what Roy is doing on our Footprints wiki, but you’ll notice that we have a CC license on there.

    If you would like to draw a Footprint of one of your MOOC experiences, I’d be happy to talk you through it on a Skype call. We have found in workshops that it only takes about 20 minutes to talk it through and then people can start drawing. We also have some Austrian colleagues who are using the Footprints template a lot in their work – see So let me know if you’d like a Skype call.


  3. VanessaVaile July 12, 2013 / 2:17 am

    I came to check on a comment notification, caught the most recent OldGlobe post and then saw this, which rang a bell since I am in Fred’s Learning Conversations Facebook group where emergent learning comes up. Footprints sounds a lot like something the Connected Learning #clmooc is working on under other names ~ mapping, learning journeys ~ and a little bit like what I have been trying to work through without a name for it. So now I’m off to read more about it both.

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