Key Recommendations of the r3.0 Educational Transformation Blueprint

Image by Tim Foster via Unsplash

Learning is an internal process that nobody can do for us, yet it can be facilitated, supported, and inspired. Learning has to be lived, felt, and experienced for it to mature into nourishing fruits of wisdom and understanding. Accordingly, learning for sustainability, regeneration and thrivability are not the same as learning about these concepts.

By sharing our experiences, discoveries, and questions — and by learning from and with each other — we can build the bridges of empathy, reciprocity, and understanding that are so needed right now. This has also been the focus of the r3.0 Educational Transformation Blueprint (BP9), for which I served as the lead author together with my co-authors Ralph Thurm and Bill Baue from r3.0, with valuable inputs from the BP9 Blueprint Working Group.

The r3.0 Educational Transformation Blueprint launched 7 September 2021, and is part of a living journey and an ongoing conversation. Over the last six months, I have authored nine Medium articles (see the links at the end of this article) in support of this Blueprint. This article is the final one in this series, which is authored by me — others may follow by r3.0 and others. The explorations of this nineth article are based on chapter 9: “Conclusions and Recommendations.” To read a brief introduction of the Blueprint, click here.

Summary of the Seven Transformative Learning Perspectives

Image design by Anneloes Smitsman for the r3.0 BP9 Educational Transformation Blueprint

The 7 Transformative Learning Perspectives of the Blueprint serve as essential foundations for learning for regeneration and thrivability, as well as for educational transformation. These perspectives have been carefully curated and woven together to support the deeper shifts in our consciousness, and to facilitate and support the required personal, systemic, and collective transformations of our worlds and cultures.

We recommend exploring these multi-dimensional perspectives with others, and for the redesign and transformation of our societal development — economically, educationally, politically, socially, and culturally.

  1. Learning as Context — We explored the following three perspectives: The Anthropocene, the Noosphere, and A New Renaissance. Learning as Context raises awareness about the root causes, necessity, evolutionary direction, and opportunities of our personal and collective transformation to regeneration and thrivability. By applying the Learning as Context perspectives in education, learning becomes more transformative and relevant while also inspiring hope that we can co-create a regenerative and thrivable world together. The Learning as Context perspectives serve as essential conditions and attractors for transformative learning, and to inspire our personal and societal development towards regeneration and thrivability.
  2. Learning as Life — We explored the following three perspectives: Three Evolutionary Principles of Life, Five Stages of Transformational Change, and Five Syntony Spheres of Evolutionary Learning Ecosystems. Learning as Life reveals how learning and development are intrinsic to life and how this unfolds as a transformative and future creative process that we can apply in education, as well as for our societal development and species maturation. The Learning as Life perspectives provide the necessary foundations for developing our ecological literacies and ecosystemic capacities for regeneration and thrivability.
  3. Learning as Future — We explored the following three perspectives: Cosmology of Futures, Imaginal Capacities, and Futures Literacies. Learning as Future offers an integral exploration of the presence of the future in each of us, and how to engage this for evolving the systems and cultures of which we form part. These perspectives also support us to develop our future literacies and become future creative, by developing our imaginal capacities and facilitation of death and transition, regeneration and healing, and birth and emergence. The Learning as Future perspectives provide the necessary foundation for developing our future literacies and future creative imaginal capacities for regeneration and thrivability.
  4. Learning as Agency — We explored the following three perspectives: Transformative Agency, Bildung as Stewardship, and the Governance of Agency. Learning as Agency serves to guide the development of personal and collective stewardship capacities for regeneration and thrivability. This includes strategies and processes for how to embrace the growing pains and evolutionary tensions of transition times — including rites of passage — and how to transform dualistic barriers through third-way evolutionary approaches. Moreover, the Learning as Agency perspectives also serve as conditions for learning how to work with complexity, and for developing governance of transformative agency based on interdependence and autopoietic principles. The Learning as Agency perspectives provide the necessary foundations for developing our agency capacities for stewarding regeneration and thrivability.
  5. Learning as Connection — We explored the following three perspectives: Learning as a Connective Pattern, Digital connections and the role of AI and VR, and Learning Feedback. Learning as Connection serves as an essential inquiry into the future trends of education, including the role of digital technologies and tokenization. It also provides a deeper inquiry into the role of assessments and evaluation, and how to create meaningful feedback for the ecology of learning as a whole. The Learning as Connection perspectives provide essential inquiries for developing our digital literacies, connective capacities, and regenerative feedback systems for creating thrivable learning systems.
  6. Learning as Story — We explored the following three perspectives: Learning as Story in Place, the Mythic Structures of Learning, and how to create New Stories of Learning. Learning as Story helps us become aware of the archetypal dimensions of our cultures, stories, and identities, and serves to develop our sense-making and communicative capacities. These perspectives are foundational for place-based learning and to foster a deeper sense of connection and belonging — preparing us in becoming story creators for regeneration and thrivability. Furthermore, these perspectives and practices serve to develop depth-awareness and integral consciousness, which is essential for decolonizing our stories and minds and healing the pain and trauma of oppression, domination, and division. The Learning as Story perspectives provide the necessary foundations for developing conscious communication, depth perception, and sense-making capacities becoming the living story of regeneration and thrivability.
  7. Learning as Community — We explored the following three perspectives: Becoming a Global Learning Community, Bioregional Learning Communities, and Weaving the Mycelia Networks of Future Education. Learning as Community creates the root systems (the mycelia) for an emerging collective consciousness and our collaborative capacities to mature and wisen as a species. These perspectives also remind us how educational transformation will only succeed when we become deeply inclusive of our diversity, and when our common care for life and the future generations becomes the unifying factor. The Learning as Community perspectives provide the necessary foundations for developing community-based global consciousness that is life centered and future inspired, as well as for the development of collaborative capacities to become caretakers and stewards of our commons — our world and future.

Key Recommendations of the Educational Transformation Blueprint

We complete this series by offering 13 recommendations that you can apply in your life, and share with your communities and networks. We appreciate your support for this work by sharing this Blueprint far and wide.

These recommendations summarise the integral focus of the 7 Learning Perspectives and are further contextualised to 5 ‘audiences’ or integral levels of learning — from nano to micro, meso, macro, and supra. The Learning Perspectives are added in [ ].

  1. Listen to the feedback of life and our planet — We have brought our world to the brink of collapse because we don’t listen to the feedback of life and our planet. Listening goes much further than hearing or knowing; true listening is responsive and in-forms the appropriate actions. Learning for regeneration and thrivability begins by including feedback of the living systems of which we are a part, and this also includes the ecologies of life within and around us [see Learning as Context, Learning as Life, Learning as Connection, Learning as Story, and Learning as Community].
  • We recommend incorporating the feedback loops of living systems in the design, governance, and learning processes of our educational, economic, and governance systems. We further recommend bringing nature into our classrooms and learning spaces, and to bring people into nature to learn from life, and become more self aware.

2. Address systemic thrivability barriers — By ignoring the feedback of life and our planet, and by pursuing growth at the cost of life, we (as a species) have become a systemic thrivability barrier for our planetary wellbeing. Learning for regeneration and thrivability requires preparing people to resolve these systemic thrivability barriers from their root causes, and needs to guide people in the principles and practices for growth and development that are evolutionary coherent with life [see Learning as Life, sections 3.2.2 and 3.2.3 of the Blueprint].

  • We recommend making systemic thrivability barriers visible within and through education by developing indicators, feedback loops, system maps, and sensing capacities for revealing when and how systemic boundaries are harmed, and by developing our capacities for evolutionary coherent growth and development.

3. Provide transformative learning contexts — Many educational programs and pedagogies fail to provide the appropriate contexts for developing an integral understanding of our roles and responsibilities, and do not sufficiently empower people in becoming co-creators of our worlds and future. Furthermore, education for sustainability does not sufficiently contextualise the development of capacities for regeneration and thrivability. Learning for regeneration and thrivability requires transformative learning contexts for conscious agency, and needs to reveal the necessities as well as opportunities for our personal and societal transformations [see Learning as Context, Learning as Life, Learning as Future, Learning as Connection, Learning as Story, and Learning as Community].

  • We recommend including the Anthropocene, Noosphere, and Renaissance as integral contexts for transformative learning and how to act on this personally, with others, as organisations, and as local, bioregional, and global learning communities.

4. Facilitate learning as a process of life — Many educational programs impose learning goals and objectives that restrict people’s holistic development and create further disconnections from life. Learning for regeneration and thrivability requires process-based and life-centered goals and pedagogies, and facilitation for experiential understanding of the fundamental conditions for planetary health and wellbeing [see Learning as Life, Learning as Future, and Learning as Community].

  • We recommend applying the three evolutionary principles of life and five stages of future creative transformation to the design and facilitation of education, and to scale this through the five syntony spheres for becoming evolutionary learning ecosystems.

5. Imaginally explore our future potentials — Many mainstream educational programs prioritize academic abilities at the expense of imaginal capacities through rigid educational goals. Learning for regeneration and thrivability requires holistic development of our human capacities, including the development of essential imaginal capacities and future literacies through we learn how to regenerate, transform, and redesign our worlds and cultures for thrivability [see Learning as Life, and Learning as Future].

  • We recommend developing our imaginal capacities and future literacies through formal and informal education, and enable exploration of our future potentials by making it possible for people to evolve and transform the systems, relationships, goals, and environments that they form part of.

6. Develop future creative learning systems — Many educational programs and systems reinforce the patterns and attitudes of the past and sink us deeper into trajectories of systemic collapse. Learning for regeneration and thrivability requires learning systems that are future creative and possibility increasing. If learning does not become future creative, the human experiment may soon end [see Learning as Context, Learning as Life, and Learning as Future].

  • We recommend transforming all educational systems that by design inhibit or block the development of future creative capacities for regeneration and thrivability. This also includes an honest review of systems that require death, and how prior resources can shift to new and emerging systems that are more suitable or future-fit. We further recommend actively empowering learners to develop their future creative capacities for a thrivable world that works for all.

7. Design for regeneration and thrivability — Many educational systems are designed for unsustainable human development, enforcing rigid targets and goals that drive us further into collapse. Learning for regeneration and thrivability requires design for evolutionary coherent growth and development that is responsive and in tune with the flows and dynamics of life [see Learning as Context, Learning as Life, Learning as Future, Learning as Agency, and Learning as Connection].

  • We recommend redesigning and repurposing the goals and resources of education in service of life and a thrivable future. This includes a major re-prioritisation of the role and purpose of education, as well as the (re)design of educational systems for regeneration and thrivability.

8. Initiate and nurture third-way approaches — Many educational programs and cultures do not sufficiently prepare learners to work with the multiple evolutionary tensions, paradoxes, and complexities of this tipping point time. Learning for regeneration and thrivability requires awareness of dualistic stances and how to address polarizing dynamics with the capacities for facilitating third-way approaches and strategies that can heal the divides, and transform duality traps [see Learning as Context, Learning as Life, Learning as Agency, and Learning as Story].

  • We recommend including third-way approaches and strategies for creating the evolutionary learning spaces through which polarising dynamics can heal, integrate, and transform. We further recommend the development of third-way perspectives and facilitation capacities to transform the multiple duality traps that are at the root causes of our current sustainability crisis.

9. Empower collaborative agency — Many educational programs foster competitive attitudes and expectations, which hinder the development of our collaborative agency. Learning for regeneration and thrivability empowers collaborative capacities and agency, at the personal, collective, as well as systemic domains of life and society [see Learning as Life, Learning as Agency, and Learning as Community].

  • We recommend developing collaborative capacities and agency through a stewardship and Bildung approach of education, linked with access to governance and coordination tools, technologies, and systems that can implement and scale our collaborative agency for regeneration and thrivability.

10. Communicate patterns that connect — Many educational programs and institutions communicate from the patterns of mechanistic systems and old paradigm goals and worldviews, which forms an educational language of exclusivity, competition, and comparison. Learning for regeneration and thrivability requires communicative patterns that connect us to each other, life, our planet, and the larger realities of which we form part [see Learning as Life, Learning as Agency, Learning as Connection, Learning as Story, and Learning as Community].

  • We recommend learning how to become and communicate like a mycelium, for becoming the new stories of education, and by communicating patterns and narratives that connect, inspire, and form the root systems of the future civilisations of a thriving world.

11. Act as a thrivable learning community — Many educational institutions focus only on their own narrow goals, without seeking to form the larger learning communities our world and planet needs. Learning for regeneration and thrivability requires that we become learning communities — locally, bioregionally, and globally — which put life in the centre and our planetary wellbeing as a shared priority, with a long-term commitment to our common futures [see Learning as Agency, Learning as Story, and Learning as Community].

  • We recommend that you as the reader do whatever you can to act from the principles and practices of being a thrivable learning community. To embody this in your consciousness, relationships, and actions. And to act as if this thrivable future already exists now.

12. Celebrate the rites of passage moments — Many of the mainstream educational rituals focus predominantly on the rites of passage of academic achievements, with little acknowledgment of who we are becoming as people. Learning for regeneration and thrivability is a journey that requires awareness of, and support through major transition times — personally and collectively. This also includes knowing how to work with the transformative powers of life through the various phases of death, conception, birth, and maturation [see Learning as Agency, section 5.2.2 of the Blueprint].

  • We recommend including rites of passage journeys and celebrations for developing our regenerative capacities and thrivability consciousness through all stages of learning and education, starting with early childhood. We further recommend intercultural and interfaith exchanges of rites of passages, and to introduce children and youth to a multi-cultural and transgenerational understanding for how we can together acknowledge and celebrate the joyful as well as the painful transition moments, including birth and death.

13. Invest in the future of life and a thriving world — Many educational programs and institutions do not sufficiently invest in developing humans that are capable of becoming wise stewards of our collective commons. Learning for regeneration and thrivability is an investment in the future of life and a thrivable world, which requires that we become wise Earth citizens [see Learning as Context, Learning as Future, and Learning as Community].

  • We recommend transforming education as per the guidance and criteria of this Blueprint, and to initiate learning for regeneration and thrivability at all levels and stages of education. Finally, we recommend that you as the reader invest in your continual development by applying the many practices and inquiries that form part of this Blueprint and by joining us on the voyage to the land of thrivability. Only together will we be able to find our ways through the many challenges that are coming and become the land of thrivability.

Exercise with the Thrivability Matrix for Self-Assement

We offer the following Thrivability Matrix (see image below) for applying the 13 recommendations to 5 levels of learning — nano, micro, meso, macro, and supra. Herewith a brief explanation of what each of these levels of learning entail in the context of this Blueprint:

  1. Nano level — self and family: Learning is focussed on self awareness and personal development as well as the development of interpersonal relationship skills at the level of family.
  2. Micro level — community learning: Learning is focussed on community consciousness, collective intelligence, and development of community capacities. With ‘community’ we mean groups and collectives of people in a given surrounding or virtually or online, who share common connections and purpose, including organisations, networks, and commons (whether centralized or decentralized).
  3. Meso level — bioregional learning: Learning is focussed on bioregional and ecological contexts, as well as emerging meso patterns of decentralized self-organization. The bioregional focus transcends the rigid boundaries and regulations of nation-states that are still predominantly focussed on coordinating and distributing education through public authorities and registered agencies with formal curricula and standardized testing.
  4. Macro level — planetary learning: Learning is focussed on planetary learning, which is not the same as international learning or global learning. Planetary learning develops planetary consciousness by focussing how we can co-learn and co-evolve with Gaia. Furthermore, planetary learning emerges through bioregional collaborations that scale and network to form a larger collective ecology of learning.
  5. Supra level — cosmological learning: Learning is focussed on the universal or cosmic dimensions of our developing human consciousness. At the supra level of learning we focus on what it means to grow more fully into our human potentials within the larger universal contexts of being. We now become aware of the cosmic or implicate orders of consciousness within nature and all living systems and the prior unity of life. The distinctions between nano, mirco, meso, and macro start to fall away as we become aware how each is nested within one another as an unfolding spiraling process that is continuous and integrative.

We purposefully chose to create this Blueprint as is a transformative inquiry-based journey. In that spirit, we’d like to invite you to explore the 13 recommendations in your own life and work, through the following 4 steps. You can also explore this together with others, which is recommended.

  • STEP 1 — Assess the extent to which you live and apply these 13 recommendations via the matrix below. Give yourself a rating from 0–3, with 0 meaning no application, and 3 meaning maximum application.
  • STEP 2 — Assess your thrivability commitment by asking someone else who knows you well to assess you, using the 0–3 score. For example, ask this person(s) whether according to them you listen to the feedback of life and our planet at the level of yourself and family, and same for community, bioregion, planet, and the cosmos or universe.
  • STEP 3 — Compare the two scores; the one you gave to yourself and the one other(s) gave you. Explore the difference and how you can bridge the gaps (if needed) by further developing your capacities for regeneration and thrivability.
  • STEP 4 — Explore how you can support the recommendations and transformative Learning Perspectives of this Blueprint to be shared with the wider world.
Source: Table 5. Thrivability Matrix Assessment for evolutionary learning and development, BP9

Educational Links and Resources

Finally, we offer the following useful links and resources from inputs of the Blueprint working group. Some of these links can serve as case-studies, whereas others may offer further connection points for collaboration.

The Learning Journey Continues…

New possibilities have a way of announcing themselves during the heart of darkness, just before dawn when it feels like the light has receded, and everything appears to become impossible. We are living through the ending of one major cycle and the beginning of another. We are in transition times between two eras, and this goes further than our climate or sustainability crisis.

To complete this series I’d like to offer the following practice from my recent book, The Quest of Rose, with my co-author Dr. Jean Houston. This practice is from chapter 8 and helps to activate and nurture emerging new insights and realizations. The magus Verdandi is guiding here her granddaughter Rose — a bright and adventurous multi-cultural woman in her mid-twenties — to become aware of the transition dynamics within her. As you read, imagine yourself part of this exploration and become aware of what emerges for you...

Verdandi takes a deep breath and says, “Now become aware of the new era, born from a future possibility of higher orders of reality that more directly manifest the Cosmic architecture of consciousness.”

She continues. “The new era brings the possibility of new growth patterns that are based on wholeness, unity, evolutionary diversity, collaboration, co-creation, and partnership with the Universe. These future possibilities are already dormant within us, like the imaginal discs that contain the genetic codes for the butterfly body in the skin of the growing caterpillar. Reflect on how the future codes of this new emerging era live in you. Which of these codes have already activated, and which are activating now? Just be present to what emerges as you ask yourself these questions. There’s no need to answer me here.”

Verdandi pauses for a few minutes to give Rose the space to be with whatever emerges in her awareness. “Ready to continue?”

“Yes,” says Rose.

“Good. Reflect now on what it means for you to be part of both worlds. How do you support this transition to a new era? Connect with your readiness for becoming a future human. Do you realize how incredible it is to be born in this transformational time where you actually get to see these changes in what becomes possible and is made real? The old era of the caterpillar world of human consciousness has reached its stage of completion. As you know, we simply cannot continue the old growth patterns any further. If we do, we’ll trigger mass extinction events, which is a clear sign that life is saying, ‘Wise up! Time to change!’

“Take a deep breath and relax. Let go of the outer world. Bring your awareness back to yourself. Breathe in and out. Be present in the here and now. Feel your body and relax your mind.

“Connect with your imaginal powers and feel how this naturally activates your Cosmic awareness. You are now able to sense, see, feel, hear, intuit, and receive information that originates beyond your ordinary state of mind. Your Cosmic mind is present within your local awareness, providing you with direct access to your imaginal capacities.

“Bring your awareness to your future human codes of consciousness; your potentials from this new, emerging era. Hold the intention that these codes now start to activate further inside you. You may experience this as a warmth spreading through your body, tingling sensations, a deep intuitive knowing, a sense of joy and wonder, or perhaps even a smile on your face.

“Your butterfly potential is now activating further through new codes that hold the possibilities for whole new patterns of growth and evolution; a whole new stage of our human evolution and the mythic structures for further developing our future human potentials. Welcome these new mythic structures and the archetypes that guide these fresh possibilities. Feel the activation of your future human codes. Feel a whole system of support emerge and open up for you.

“You now have access to whole new abilities, perspectives, realizations, and ways of being that may be beyond anything you have ever imagined or experienced before. Allow the newness of what is happening inside you. Don’t project old thoughts or concepts on this experience, just let it grow into new experiences that directly emerge from your future human codes.

“Welcome your metamorphic transformation of consciousness, as earlier and older forms of yourself become supportive of this new stage in your development. Thank your caterpillar self for how it carried your future human potential until the time you were ready to embrace it, providing the context for the necessity of change.

“Acknowledge and thank yourself for being ready for what is happening now. Enjoy this new phase and the birth of this new era in you.”

Source: Extracts from chapter 9 of the r3.0 Educational Transformation Blueprint.

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Anneloes Smitsman, PhD

Anneloes Smitsman, PhD

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Futurist, systems scientist, award-winning author, coach, CEO & founder EARTHwise Centre