Thinking in Complexity about Learning and Education: A Programmatic View

Ton Jörg

Abstract


In this contribution the focus is on sketching a programmatic view of thinking in complexity about learning and development. This kind of thinking goes beyond linear thinking. The new thinking in complexity about a dynamic complex reality may enable us to build a new science of learning and education, which does not take the nonlinear complex reality for granted but regards it as “real”: a science with a framework that does not exist yet. A new vision on learning is presented which takes the concept of interaction as a key concept, which may be linked with the notion of dynamic complexity. Thinking in complexity has its focus on “that which is interwoven”. Learning and development through interaction may thus be viewed as a way of co‐creating ourselves within a web of reciprocal relationships with the other. This co‐creation may be described as a complex of self‐generative, self‐sustaining processes of mutual “bootstrapping” with potentially nonlinear effects over time. Modelling learning this way, may show learning to be a potentially nonlinear phenomenon within a new reality as the domain of possibilities and potentialities of learning. The modelling of such learning as “bootstrapping,” and the concomitant effects on both partners in the interaction, shows these very possibilities and potentialities of learning in their humanly connected spaces of possibility. It demonstrates the very truth of Vygotsky’s adage that “it is through others that we develop into ourselves.” Based on his thoughts, we are able to develop a new view of the complex nonlinear reality of learning and education, with learners as potentially nonlinear human beings.

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