Towards a complex systems meta-theory of learning as an emergent phenomenon

Education as a system of systems: rethinking learning theory to tackle complex threats to our societies

Reda SadkiTheory

In their 2014 article, Jacobson, Kapur, and Reimann propose shifting the paradigm of learning theory towards the conceptual framework of complexity science. They argue that the longstanding dichotomy between cognitive and situative theories of learning fails to capture the intricate dynamics at play. Learning arises across a “bio-psycho-social” system involving interactive feedback loops linking neuronal processes, individual cognition, social context, and cultural milieu. As such, what emerges cannot be reduced to any individual component. To better understand how macro-scale phenomena like learning manifest from micro-scale interactions, the authors invoke the notion of “emergence” prominent in the study of complex adaptive systems. Discrete agents interacting according to simple rules can self-organize into sophisticated structures through across-scale feedback. For instance, the formation of a traffic jam results from the cumulative behavior of individual drivers. The jam then constrains their ensuing decisions. Similarly, in learning contexts, the construction of shared knowledge, norms, values …

The design of intelligent environments for education

The design of intelligent environments for education

Reda SadkiTheory

Warren M. Brodey, writing in 1967, advocated for “intelligent environments” that evolve in tandem with inhabitants rather than rigidly conditioning behaviors. The vision described deeply interweaves users and contexts, enabling environments to respond in real-time to boredom and changing needs with shifting modalities. Core arguments state that industrial-model education trains obedience over creativity through standardized, conformity-demanding environments that waste potential. Optimal learning requires tuning instruction to each student. Rigid spaces reflecting hard architecture must give way to soft, living systems adaptively promoting growth. His article categorizes environment and system intelligence across axes like passive/active, simple/complex, stagnant/self-improving. Significant themes include emancipating achievement through tailored guidance per preferences and abilities, architecting feedback loops between human and machine, and progressing through predictive insight rather than blunt insistence. Overarching takeaways reveal that intelligence emerges from environments and inhabitants synergistically improving one another, not stationary enforcement of tradition. For education, this analysis indicates transformative power …

IA2030 Movement HPV vaccination national EPI consultation

Movement for Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030): National EPI leaders from 31 countries share experience of HPV vaccination

Reda SadkiGlobal health

What difference can peer-led learning and action make for national EPI planners seeking new strategies to support HPV vaccine introduction or reintroduction? The stakes are high: HPV vaccination efforts, if successful, will avert 3.4 million deaths by 2030. On Friday, EPI focal points for HPV and other national-level MOH colleagues from 31 countries convened under the banner of the Movement for Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030), which connects over 60,000 primarily sub-national health staff worldwide. This time, it was national HPV vaccination focal points and other national EPI planners who joined to share experience between countries of ‘what works’ (and how). They also discussed how the Geneva Learning Foundation’s unique peer learning-to-action pathway could help them overcome barriers they are facing to ensure that local communities understand and support the benefits of this vaccine. Such a pathway can complement existing, top-down forms of vertical technical assistance and may provide a new …