Emergent Learning: Honoring the unique expression of all life

What is emergent learning? Emergent learning cannot be defined; it is fluid, relational and contextual. It is founded on the principle that in Nature, growth takes place from the inside and thrives when the conditions are right. Emergent learning recognizes that, like in Nature, we cannot plan or pre-determine what growth (learning) will look like. There is a wild unpredictability that allows life to express itself in its own way, in relation to the context in which it becomes. Emergent learning asks us to release control, to trust collective intelligence, to allow learners to follow their curiosities, explore, discover, create, produce, re-think, shift, and re-consider together. It is a collective experience, life expressing itself like a harmony.

Emergent learning believes we should enter a learning experience with aspirations and with purpose: to contribute in some way to the bio-collective—everything alive that has an interest in the healthfulness of the planet. It asks us to abandon set curricula and respond to who is in the learning space (including non-human animals and the more than human world) and how they might want to contribute within this context. Emergent learning is about unleashing learning. It is wild! but it is not the Wild West. Emergent learning considers our shared values and honoring of the expression of all life, both individually and bio-collectively, always following the lodestar of contribution.

Coconut Thinking is an advisory that supports schools and learning organizations to create, develop, stress test, and implement their ideas for emergent learning. In other words, we work alongside you to co-create experiences and systems at both macro- and micro-level. We notice the trends and the moments.

This might include: leading workshops; creating and implementing professional development initiatives; serving as a critical friend on projects, initiatives, and plans; collaborating on endeavors that liberate learning; bouncing ideas about what might just be possible; and anything else that takes us toward more regenerative ways of becoming. We also connect schools with practitioners, artists, and industry experts to create collaborative spaces that respond to contextual challenges: learning together through contribution to the bio-collective, shoulder to shoulder across generations.

Why a coconut? Because a coconut is classified as both a seed and a fruit—the beginning and the end of the cycle of life, which continues onward. It is also a nut, which you need to be if you want to change the world. A coconut is difficult to open but provides a worthwhile reward inside; you can do so much with what’s inside coconuts. You just need a bit of persistence and creativity to crack it. Every coconut is unique, exotic (to us at least), and definitely not a low hanging fruit. We believe deeper learning is a lot like a coconut.

We named one of our cats Coconut because the word resonates so clearly for us… she is the third stray we have picked up, the second in Riyadh.