Ecologies for Learning and Practice : Emerging Ideas, Sightings, and Possibilities book cover
1st Edition

Ecologies for Learning and Practice
Emerging Ideas, Sightings, and Possibilities

ISBN 9781138496880
Published November 25, 2019 by Routledge
254 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Ecologies for Learning and Practice provides the first systematic account of the ideas of learning ecologies and ecologies of practice and locates the two concepts within the context of our contemporary world. It focuses on how individuals and society are being presented with all manner of learning challenges arising from fluidities and disruptions, which extend across all domains of life. This book examines emerging ways of understanding and living purposively in these new fluidities and provides fresh perspectives on the way we learn and achieve in such dynamic contexts.

Providing an insight into the research of a range of internationally renowned contributors, this book explores diverse topics from the higher education and adult learning worlds. These include:

  • The challenges faced by education systems today
  • The concept of ecologies for learning and practice
  • The role and responsibility of higher education institutions in advancing ecological approaches to learning
  • The different eco-social systems of the world—local and global, economic, cultural, practical, technological, and ethical
  • How adult learners might create and manage their own ecologies for learning and practice in order to sustain themselves and flourish

With its proposals for individual and institutional learning in the 21st century and concerns for our sustainability in a fragile world, Ecologies for Learning and Practice is an essential guide for all who seek to encourage and facilitate learning in a world that is fundamentally ecological in nature.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

List of contributors

1 Introduction: Steps to Ecologies for Learning and Practice

Norman Jackson and Ronald Barnett

PART 1 Towards Ecologies for Learning and Practice

2 Animating Systems: The Ecological Value of Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model of Development

Leah O'Toole, Nóirín Hayes, and Ann Marie Halpenny

3 Weaving Ecologies for Learning: Engaging Imagination in Place-based Education

Gillian Judson

4 Learning Ecologies: Liminal States and Student Transformation

Maggi Savin-Baden

5 Sustainability-oriented Ecologies of Learning: A Response to Systemic Global Dysfunction

Arjen E.J. Wals

PART 2 Advancing Ecologies for Learning and Practice in Higher Education

6 Ecologies for Learning and Practice in Higher Education Ecosystems

Norman Jackson

7 Ecological Thinking about Education Strategy in Universities

Peter Goodyear and Robert A. Ellis

8 Education and Innovation Ecotones

Ann Pendleton-Jullian

9 Ecosystem Empowerment: Unlocking Human Potential Through Value Creation

Sasha Barab, Anna Arici, Earl Aguilera, and Kathryn Dutchin

10 Building Doctoral Ecologies and Ecological Curricula: Sprawling Spaces of Learning in Researcher Education

Søren S.E. Bengtsen

PART 3 Ecologies for Learning and Practice in the World

11   Learning Ecologies at Work

Karen Evans

12 From Learning Ecologies to Ecologies for Creative Practice

Norman Jackson

13 Learning in the Cat’s Cradle: Weaving Learning Ecologies in the City

Keri Facer, Magdalena Buchczyk, Liz Bishop, Helen Bolton, Zehra Haq, Jackie Gilbert, Gideon Thomas, Jessica Tomico, and Xiujuan Wang

14 Society as a Learning Ecology: Glimpsed and Now Disappearing?

Ronald Barnett

Epilogue : Practice seldom makes perfect but …

Ronald Barnett and Norman Jackson


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Ronald Barnett is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, University College London, Institute of Education. 

Norman Jackson is Emeritus Professor, University of Surrey, and Founder of Lifewide Education.


Ecologies for Learning and Practice is an amazing book—both eye opening and optimistic. Its subtitle: Emerging Ideas, Sightings, and Possibilities precisely captures its intent and content!…The writers expand our own imagination of new approaches to learning, to new institutional architectures for learning in a white-water world…We should congratulate [the editors] for assembling such a provocative collection of authors that helps unpack how learning can be reconstituted in an ever-changing world.

–John Seely Brown, Former Chief Scientist of Xerox Corp and head of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Advisor to the Provost, University of Southern California, USA