1st Edition

Reimagining Adult Education as World Building Creating Learning Ecologies for Transformation

    184 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    184 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Reimagining Adult Education as World Building offers a new way of thinking about adult education by re-envisaging how adult education works. It explores how the process of world building, or the invention of a new world or a set of concepts, can be translated into actual and feasible action when turning towards complex, real-life problems.

    Cultivating contexts where adult educators can become change agents, who recognize that the individual and community are intricately entangled, demands that educators grow new capacities, make new tools, develop thicker networks, and cultivate intentional links amongst each other to foster ecologies of transformation. This book shows how educators can create an ecology or environment for transformative thinking where students can learn to collaborate and use world building tools to create new responses to current issues. It begins by explaining the philosophical underpinnings of world building and the tools that translate pragmatic imagination into scaffolds for individual and collective capacity building. It also illustrates how the worldbuilding protocol makes a difference in adult learning and how this pedagogical tool introduces the ecological approach to adult education. Each chapter explores a practical case study, showing how learners have applied worldbuilding tools to complex challenges.

    Showing how to apply the world building protocol in a classroom setting, this edited collection will be valuable to Adult Education scholars, researchers, practitioners, and learning facilitators.

    1. Ruptures in Adult Education  2. Rethinking Pragmatism Through World Building as a Research Method  3. Reducing Polarization Through Informal Facilitators of Learning  4. Beyond the Learning Curve: The Roughness of Learning  5. Utilizing World Building to Explore Vaccine Hesitancy  6. Decolonizing Adult Education: An Imagined Potential  7. Iteration, Creation, and Frustration: Student Perspectives on World Building in the Classroom  8. Half-baked and Muddling Through: A Critical Collaborative Autoethnography of a Minor Pedagogy  9. (Re)Imagining Adult Education as Ecologies of Transformation


    Aliki Nicolaides is Professor of Adult Learning, Leadership, and Adult Development at the University of Georgia, USA.

    Ahreum Lim is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Generative Learning and Complexity Lab at the University of Georgia, USA.

    Neal Herr is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Learning, Leadership and Organization Development program at the University of Georgia, USA.

    Trisha Barefield is a Doctoral Candidate in the Learning, Leadership and Organization Development program at the University of Georgia, USA.

    "Reimagining Adult Education is about putting an innovative program for graduate education into action. Much of the work it documents was conceived and deployed during the global pandemic (2020), a moment in time that provided an amazing opportunity to reimagine the aims, methods, and approaches of Ph.D. level education in our world of accelerating change. I find the book profound. It not only presents their explorations into using worldbuilding to break problem-solving and accredited learning canons, but also their journey of wrestling with this new approach pragmatically and ethically. They present both the student's viewpoints/experiences and the faculty's perspectives not merely as after-reviews but the process of theorizing, doing, reflecting, theorizing some more, recalibrating, and scaffolding student expectations, discomfort, and achievement. It presents a remarkable window into what it actually takes to innovate and land a new process that expands our imaginations of what could be possible."

    John Seely Brown, Co-author (with Ann Pendleton-Jullian) of Design Unbound: Designing for emergence in a White Water World (2018) and also co-author (with Doug Thomas) of A New Culture of Learning (2011)
    Former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation.

    "A cathartic and invigorating read. During the global Covid-19 pandemic Nicolaides and her co-editors (doctoral students within her department) fearlessly embraced the ambiguity and uncertainty of the time as a catalyst to disrupt the established norms of adult learning. Drawing upon the invaluable tools outlined by Ann Pendleton-Jullian and John Seely Brown’s Design Unbound, Nicolaides et al. embarked on an illuminating journey of world building, exploring the vast possibilities of a desired future, and daringly reimagining the landscape of adult education. The result of their labors is artfully summarized in the text, making it an invaluable resource for adult

    educators, scholars, practitioners, and learners alike who seek to embrace the concept of world building in the classroom."

    Erin Benson, Director, Disability Resource Center, Division of Student Affairs, University of Georgia

    "The authors introduce world building—a device originating in narrative and adapted for innovation learning—to adults in higher education to build individual and systemic capacities for learning and work in a VUCA world. Doctoral students in collaboratives ‘troubled’ their individual and collective views of "wicked" problems and literally "made" new-world alternatives that challenged their own and the groups’ thinking. Their experiences shed light on the promise and perils of radical change in teaching and learning to prepare adult learners for exponential complexity!"

    Victoria J Marsick, Adult Learning & Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University

    "At a time when adult education programs struggle to survive in the neo-liberal academy, Nicolaides and her student collaborators sketch an early path to reclaiming our power to change the world! In these pages, we see the making of a new form of doctoral education as it unfolds in the life and work of a brilliant educator and her brave students. A provocative and hopeful perspective, and a must read for all preparing the future generation of adult educators."

    Ellen Scully-Russ, Associate Professor, Human and Organizational Learning, The George Washington University