CoCreative Learning

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Contents

The CoCreative Learning Project

Release date 18th October 2017

Introduction

CoCreative Learning is a free, open source project, drawing on a wide body of accumulated understanding and practice, to share proven techniques to learn co-creatively - ie. CoCreative Learning isn't hampered or fettered by the incentives, penalties and limitations of established education practice. CoCreative Learning makes explicit, what is implicit in much human activity. CoCreative Learning removes the shackles and blinkers of orthodox learning to unleash human creative potential.

This Wiki page (CoCreative Learning) is primarily focused on political economy[1] as the area of study but the Principles and Process[[2]] are applicable and essential in all co-creative learning. CoCreative Learning is essentially a methodology to create the space and a framework to accelerate your learning and expand your understanding in any subject of inquiry. Nevertheless, an understanding of political economy is essential context for your learning and life's decisions. We all need to be polymaths, first and foremost to be able to function as free human beings.

Co-creative learning comes naturally to humans and underpinned thriving preliterate societies within which co-operation was key to survival. Before the establishment of civilisations, co-creative learning was the way we lived. However, as civilisations developed, emerging knowledge became the preserve of the ruling elites in societies and those in their service (priests, scribes. tax collectors etc.). Later, the establishment of compulsory schooling segregated and trained humans to fulfil different roles in the political economy but not to question authority nor what we are taught.[3]]

Competition is the founding principle of the current political economy and it starts with compulsory education - standards, testing and grading - and continues throughout our lives.

Intrusion into, and disruption of, family and community life fragments social cohesion and inhibits co-creative learning and growing. Control of learning has drifted away from families and communities, into the maw of the state and corporations which dictate what we learn and how we learn. Education has become increasingly specialised and compartmentalised, meaning few have an understanding of how the pieces fit together and how they interact. We are trained to be ignorant of the true nature of the political economy.

Academia and media ensure most humans only learn a subset of skills and never develop their understanding beyond what directly affects or interests them.

We rely on experts to make important decisions on our behalf. These experts are only expert in their field and have little understanding of the political economy as a system; they don't foresee the consequences of their decisions and actions on others and the system itself. Experts take on trust, information from other experts who are similarly confined. Consequently, we are denied the means to verify whether what we are told is true and supported by all the evidence available.

We need experts to delve into the depths of their specialism but they need to co-create their learning to unleash the power of co-creative learning for themselves and humanity.

Currently, incentives and penalties in the political economy ensure that established "wisdom" remains unassailable until such time as sufficient contrary evidence penetrates public consciousness to overwhelm the previous understanding.

History is littered with trials, tribulations and killing of those who challenged "authorised" beliefs.

In spite of these difficulties, limited co-creative learning occurs, often within orthodox education but it is rarely acknowledged or recognised. All we need to do is remove the incentives, penalties and limitations of institutionalised, hierarchical education and set it free - let go of all our preconceptions and beliefs.

CoCreative Learning is the process by which understanding (of the current political economy and possibilities to co-create something better) can penetrate human consciousness. It is open to anyone and everyone. All that is required is the desire to learn.

CoCreative Learning helps us understand changes in an ever changing world. It is fluid, flexible and evolving, like the world we inhabit.

Promise of CoCreative Learning

The power to evolve, unleashing the potential of humanity. In short, freedom.

What do we get from CoCreative Learning?

What we find in co-creative learning is that there is a geometric progression of understanding.

The power of co-creative learning is evident in free, open source software [[4]] and other examples:

Sugata Mitra[5] has pioneered self-organised learning at Newcastle University [6]. Here he talks about an experiment in India during which illiterate children from the slums adjacent to his office learned about genetics in six months. [7]

Co-creative learning is the foundation of the Critical Thinking project which recently had a paper published in the Islamic Economics Journal of King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.[8].

Co-creative learning conceived and implemented the CoCreative Learning Project in less than a month. It has been the foundation of our methodology for 6 years, since the inception of Critical Thinking, but our evolutionary purpose[[9]] hadn’t crystallised this concept into anything tangible until a month ago - the CoCreative Learning Project had been taking shape in discussions and occasional blog[[10]] posts during the summer of this year but not identified or articulated as an objective. Most of the materials and outline for this wiki had been accumulating within the Critical Thinking posts and MindMaps[[11]] making implementation swift and relatively easy - it created itself, autopoiesis[12].

There seems to be a magical factor in co-creative learning which is difficult to describe in words. By operating on the same wavelength, ideas and creativity resonate, turbocharging learning. One is barely aware of progress while learning co-creatively but documenting, recording and sharing work as we learn reveals the rapid development of our understanding.

Done right, the results of CoCreative Learning are impressive. We know it works but only by doing it yourself can you appreciate its power.

What can we use CoCreative Learning for?

CoCreative Learning can teach you anything you want to know. All you need is a question[[13]].

Everything we do has a context and learning is no different. In order to understand context, we need to look at the political economy[[14]] and that is what this Wiki page is mainly concerned with. But CoCreative Learning is applicable to any human activity which is learned; in time, we hope to see others sharing their experiences of co-creative learning across a wide spectrum of subjects, issues and ideas.

The nature of CoCreative Learning is such that from wherever you start and whatever your objective, you will quickly find your learning expands beyond its original horizon, creating new possibilities.

Who can participate in CoCreative Learning?

Co-Creative Learning is open to all of us; it comes naturally. Anyone prepared to learn is welcome.[[15]]

If you're a student, you face a dilemma. The false promise of a degree is that it is the key to a wonderful future. The reality for most falls way short of their expectations. In return for this promise, you are shackled with debt and trained to be a putative component of the political economy[16]. You've already been prepared to accept all this through compulsory schooling.[17]. Or you can explore how the world works before deciding what you'd like to do and learn of your true potential and of the expanding opportunities which arise from CoCreative Learning. Alternatively, if you already have a place, augment your degree with CoCreative Learning - you will find it accelerates learning in your degree subject(s) and gives you a context or framework to help you make important decisions.

If you're in or out of paid work, CoCreative Learning will transform your life.

If you are an activist/campaigner, it is vital to integrate co-creative learning into your work. Most campaigns focus on symptoms, the injustice, death and destruction wrought by the system. They attack the obvious targets which are fronts to direct fire away from the system itself. So whatever your cause, CoCreative Learning will reveal the real causes of our predicament and show us the way out of this mess we've found ourselves in.

If you are old, CoCreative Learning will harvest your lifetime's experiences, putting them into a new perspective and give new energy and meaning to your life.

If you're a victim of the system, understanding why is your best means of escape.

If you believe you're a beneficiary of the system, you'll learn how much better life could be with real freedom to thrive.

If you are an expert, CoCreative Learning will not only accelerate your learning but will reveal the context of your work both within your field and the wider world.

Given the opportunity, children[18] and adults alike learn co-creatively. Relationships are formed and strengthened though co-creative learning to create a shared understanding, building circles of trust and putting energy and power back into families and communities.

CoCreative Learning Wiki

CoCreative Learning is a free, open source project. Accumulated practice and knowledge are shared through this Wiki (website). As the project evolves, we expect pages to be added by others involved in co-creative learning.

In time, we hope to see a CoCreative Learning Information Exchange emerge[[19]] where people involved in co-creative learning can form relationships with each other, to accelerate their learning and help build a global ecosystem of co-creative learning.

Also, we hope to see translation CoCreative Learning groups emerge to provide foreign language versions of this Wiki.

CoCreative Learning Ecosystem

CoCreative Learning is a free, open source project.

We're keen to learn of other co-creative learning groups and projects and if you are involved in co-creative learning, we'd love to learn about your work and practices to share with the wider CoCreative Learning community.

We ask that you create your own page on this Wiki (There is a User GuideUser's Guide[20] for guidance). We're interested to know what your group is learning and how you work co-creatively. CoCreative Learning's methodology is laid out in the HOWTO[[21]] - we're really keen to learn how other groups manage the challenges of sourcing, filtering, analysing and synthesising of information.

You should include a link to your home page or blog, a location (others in your area may want to connect) and a contact email address.

If anyone wants to "build" a searchable free, open source co-creative learning information exchange, we'll gladly link this page to it. And there's no reason why there should be only one - a distributed network of information "nodes"[22] supporting the ecosystem of co-creative learning.

This is a shared endeavour to co-create a shared understanding among humans - a paradigm shift in human consciousness.

Open Source Learning

Internet – Catalyst for a Paradigm Shift

Never before have we had the ability to explore information without limit (sifting the wheat from the chaff). Until the arrival of the internet, it was almost impossible to see how the world works. Those researching and analysing the current political economy[23] wouldn’t have moved beyond “first base”.

We’ve unprecedented means to communicate with anyone, anywhere. It is this communication and sharing of information, bypassing “authorised” hierarchical institutions, which makes CoCreative Learning possible on a global but human scale. It is the means to co-create a distributed network of learning across the world, straddling geographic and other boundaries. We can communicate with the "other" to find common ground and explore the reasons for our differing understanding and beliefs.

The internet is (or was) a distributed, non-hierarchical information and communication network – “was” refers to the increasing threat to “net neutrality” and colonisation of large swathes of the internet by vested interests.

The internet and the free software movement flourished and fuelled creativity because of their decentralised, non-hierarchical structures. Free software is an exemplar of how ecosystems of human co-creativity can evolve to solve large complex problems. A program is free software if the program's users have the four essential freedoms [24]:

- The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0). 
- The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1).
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour (freedom 2).
- The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3).

These same freedoms apply to information, analysis and ideas developed through the CoCreative Learning Project

Many are surprised to learn that more than 50% of the internet runs on free software.

The internet and the software which runs it are arguably as complex as the political economy. Free, open source, co-creative learning is the key to unlock the secrets of the political economy and its effects on humans and the planet. The promise of CoCreative Learning is no more or less than this.

Origins of the CoCreative Learning Project

Roots

The CoCreative Learning Project has its roots in the work of Critical Thinking at the Free University.

The Critical Thinking project is a non-hierarchical, self-organising, collaborative, learning project to curate referenced information and analysis to share wider understanding of why the world is the way it is and identify levers for change.[25]

Critical Thinking has been practising co-creative learning from its inception in 2012. It started life as part of the Free University which evolved from Occupy London and the Bank of Ideas to promote education as a common good which has value of itself. We believe that freedom to learn and share knowledge is essential for a vibrant society and Free University is dedicated to this aim. Free University is an evolving public institution for critical thinking, creativity and knowledge beyond that sanctioned by the state and the market. Free University welcomes all who show appropriate respect to all other members and is part of a wider national free university network.

CoCreative Learning in Action

Critical Thinking's way of working has evolved into the Process, Principles and methodology described in the CoCreative Learning HOWTO. [[26]] Our practice and methodology are derived from the non-hierarchical conception of the Free University and incorporate learning from Occupy London.

Critical Thinking came across Sugata Mitra and his work on Self-Organised Learning Environments in 2013 [27]. SOLE Central at Newcastle University is a global hub for research into self-organised learning environments (SOLEs). It brings together researchers, practitioners, policymakers and entrepreneurs. [28]

The Free Software movement [29] is an exemplar of co-creative learning and development and Debian GNU/Linux is a leading Linux based software distribution. The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made common cause to create a free operating system. This operating system that we have created is called Debian. [30] Debian is used by some participants in Critical Thinking and the concepts of freedom enshrined in Debian are integrated into Critical Thinking's ethos and the CoCreative Learning Project. [[31]]

CoCreative Learning HOWTO

Starting your co-creative learning group

Groupthink abounds in the current political economy, often polarised between two opposing ideologies. Our current political economy is founded on competition and, in academia, on competing ideas. Issues are "argued" between two polarised standpoints: true/false, right/left, right/wrong etc.- binary thinking. This is why political discourse is often a dialogue of the deaf and debate deteriorates into name calling.

But life is infinitely nuanced and often ambiguous, yet there is limited time or room for subtlety or ambiguity in academia and, as a result, even less in the political economy[32]. Glaringly obvious contradictions and lies are hidden within this cage of binary groupthink; most are unaware of irreconcilable differences and "ominous continuities" in official narratives but many succumb to wilfully blind hypocrisy in promoting them.

So we need to move out of the comfort of our social circle to explore other perspectives. We are like the blind men of Indostan trying to describe an elephant but each "sees" (by touch) a different part of the beast. [33] Video [34]. We're not listening to the "other" to understand the nature and effect of the political economy from their perspective before deciding we know how the world works. Once we've made up our minds, we brook no argument.

Another reason our perspectives are so narrow is that we can only absorb so much information, particularly if we attempt look beyond “authorised” sources. No one mind can absorb, sift, analyse and synthesise sufficient information to get a grasp of part of the system, let alone the whole because there are numerous hidden influences and connections at work. To “see” the political economy, we need multiple perspectives to understand the nature and workings of the political economy. The only way to cover sufficient ground to gain these perspectives is through self-organised, co-creative learning.

In order to understand the world we need to listen to and share information with the "other", those whom we've been trained to hate or distrust. Diversity is key in CoCreative Learning - diversity of voices/worldviews and diversity of sources of information.

Your core, starting group is the first level "filter" for co-creative learning. It is this group which will be reviewing, discussing and analysing information, checking with independent sources, filtering, synthesising and then re-sharing with your wider co-creative learning community via your group blog, email and social media.

The two main obstacles to CoCreative Learning are ideology[35] and ego. What we don't need in our group are "teachers" (this is not to exclude the teaching profession, some of whom already facilitate co-creative learning within the confines of a dirigiste education system); what we need are learners, ie. people who put their beliefs, preconceptions, assumptions and biases aside to consider and compare new information impartially. The problem with "teachers" is that they already "know" and want to tell everyone what they know.

In Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (by Paul Rep) there is a section entitled 101 Zen Stories. Here a tale is told of a University professor who visits Nan-in, a Japanese Zen master. The professor says he wants to learn about Zen, but is filled with his own knowledge and opinions. Nan-in pours tea into his cup and does not stop so that it begins to overflow.[36]

“What are you doing? It is overfull. No more will go in!” yells the Professor. “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

Humility accelerates learning

Ideally, a Co-Creative Learning group should comprise 6 to 12 open-minded people who share an interest in trying to understand the world but have different interests and experiences to draw on for their contribution to discussions. Once established, as your co-creative learning community grows, others will likely want to join your weekly discussions. Co-creative learning can start with two people in regular dialogue; as interactions develop with other groups and individuals, in face to face contact and via digital communication, others will come along.

Identity

Once you've got an initial core CoCreative Learning group, you need to agree a group Identity to be able to communicate with others via your group blog and, possibly in the future, social media. Your group blog can be hosted on a free blogging platform but if you want your own group website with its own web address (URL), it is worth registering an appropriate internet domain name for when you set up the website.[37]

Process

Filtering and Synthesising Information and Ideas

CoCreative Learning starts with information which comes from a variety of sources[[38]] which form an ecology of news, information, ideas and analysis. We need a diverse range of trusted groups and individuals to source, analyse and compare information and ideas to filter relevant material in the form of recommended articles, books, blogs, academic papers, podcasts, videos and original documents. These materials are then re-shared during discussions in weekly meetings, via digital media and in conversation with other groups and individuals with whom group participants interact - an ecology of alternative thinking, news and analysis. The aim is to build overlapping circles of trust to analyse, filter and re-share what is most relevant with the wider co-creative learning community.

During discussion, information is held up for critical examination [[39]], which often brings to light corroborating or relevant, related references; some of these additional references are released back into this alternative ecology of information. The ecology comprises groups and people across the spectrum of humanity; diversity of interlocutors is key. Only from the weight of evidence provided by comparative study of many sources, can we hope to reach a shared understanding[[40]]. Issues and events need to be discussed and examined in the context of prior analysis, to challenge or verify earlier conclusions, thus refining and expanding the previous understanding.

Receiving, comparing, aggregating, analysing and disseminating information is the bulk of the CoCreative Learning process and is the foundation on which to build a robust Model[[41]] of the political economy. Where possible, we need to reference original source documents. Co-Creative Learning relies on publicly available information and analysis to co-create a plausible model and narrative for the political economy.

This constant, iterative activity, of review and discussion of primary and secondary research, undertaken by others, builds into a comprehensive model of the political economy.

While video and podcasts are invaluable sources of information and analysis, they are drawing on the written word and selective reading can give false impressions of what was actually written. Other people's interpretations can be useful but if their framing of information is biased[[42]], the only reliable source is the written material itself. It can also be much quicker to "skim" an article or book than watch a whole video or listen to a complete podcast to glean gems of important information, even if you watch/listen at double speed. SpeedReading is an invaluable skill and worth learning; it's not difficult, but takes practice. [43]

group@ Email List

Following your first meeting, start to explore and circulate information relevant to the current focus of your discussions. Initially straightforward email, cc'ing all members of your group, will suffice but when you're ready, a group mailing list is more efficient and effective. Your group@ email list is for communication within your core group to share information you may not feel is sufficiently robust for wider circulation (using your group blog which will grow a much larger audience). The "core" group@ email list is for those directly involved with your CoCreative Learning group.

Daily Blog

Your group blog is how you share information with your CoCreative Learning community and anyone else who comes across it through other channels. You don't need to write "War and Peace" but just post the links with a brief context and description. In time, you may feel compelled to write more. Encouraging people to comment will encourage wider dialogue and sharing of information.

Within a group of seven members, each could do a weekly blog. Or perhaps two or three people are happy to take responsibility to agree a rota.

When writing a blog, remember that you are acting as a filter and interpreter of all the information your group has distilled to that point in time. Understanding changes, as more information emerges, consequently it's best to reserve judgement on issues and events until you've produced your first Snapshot[[44]] of the political economy. Keep the CoCreative Learning Principles[[45]] uppermost in your mind.

Another useful skill, if you use a PC rather than a phone, is touch typing. Just learn the basic principles[46] and practice. It will slow you down at first but if you persevere, you'll quickly overtake your previous typing speed and accuracy.

Developing the Model

MindMaps[47] are an incredibly powerful resource and vital to developing your analysis. Habitual use of MindMaps inculcates a pictorial or diagrammatic view of the world which can be easily translated into a visual map or model of the political economy. It doesn't require computer skills, just a notebook, pencil and eraser.

Buy a bound, unlined note book on which to create your MindMaps; this will be an invaluable reference of recorded information and discussion points to create powerful articles and presentations using the same MindMap techniques. After a while, you won't need to think about creating a Model for the political economy, it will leap out at you from the pages of your CoCreative Learning notebook. As you fill one notebook after another[48], there is the clear audit trail of your learning and the unfolding of your understanding. It is the measure of your co-created progress, reflecting the richness of the diversity of voices with whom you interact.

On the first page of your notebook, write your Co-Creative Learning group Identity[[49]] in a circle or ellipse. Note the biggest question(s)[50] you have in your mind on this page by recording it(them) in two or three significant words within ellipses around the centre with lines drawn to them. Thereafter, when you watch a video, listen to a presentation, discussion or read articles, academic papers or books, record the salient points of each, in subsequent pages, in the form of MindMaps. When you want to present ideas, drawing on the information in your notebook, create a MindMap of your article or presentation. Sometimes, you may want to create a MindMap because an idea occurs to you and needs recording.

There are many ways of creating mind maps and preferences vary; experiment but simple is best.

You're only looking to record the most important information, questions and ideas. Our minds absorb much more information than we realise but the problems arise when trying to recall or communicate it. The big ideas, facts and questions you record on your MindMaps will trigger the mechanisms in your brain to retrieve additional information, as you need it. As you use MindMaps, you will find you learn quicker and communicate better.

Thinking in pictures helps us see the relationships between issues and events, usually obscured in dense prose or by partial, misleading disclosure. Your Model will show how you've connected seemingly disconnected events, issues, institutions and structures to describe the political economy - it is a simple form of SystemsThinking. Familiarity with SystemsThinking is useful but only worth pursuing in depth if it interests you.[51]

Below are the MindMaps used to conceive and co-create this Wiki:

Warning: Don't copy what other people do, unless you find it works for you. People's minds work differently and the key thing is to do what works for you. Some may prefer symbols or simple pictures; use whatever helps you retrieve information from a few major trigger words or symbols, in the most efficient way.

Snapshots

As the Model[[52]] develops, occasional snapshots of the work-in-progress are essential to verify the model; to contextualise events and issues; and to share with others. Incorporating references (links) helps others undertake their own research and feeds an alternative ecology of research and analysis which, in turn, feeds back into your CoCreative Learning.

These snapshots can be a presentation or article that you've written which encapsulates your research and analysis to date, incorporating your latest Model of the political economy based on your MindMaps[[53]]. If you prefer other media, snapshots can be in the form of a video or podcast. You can point others to your latest snapshot so they can understand your work and how you see the world.

Critical Thinking's latest snapshot is available on their website but it is probably best not to explore it, until you've produced your own first snapshot. Thereafter, by all means feel free to compare or even challenge Critical Thinking's analysis. The causes and deficiencies of groupthink are referred to in 4.1[[54]]. CoCreative Learning is premised on abandoning all preconceptions and beliefs and operating autonomously but interdependently with your CoCreative Learning community. Start with a clean sheet.


These methods, described above, are the essential first steps to co-creating a global learning community built on human relationships. A distributed network or ecology of CoCreative Learning.

Scale

While co-creative learning is best conducted on a scale which fosters close relationships (in small groups), digital media enable such groups to co-create a distributed network (global community) to supercharge learning and develop understanding within a wider context. Below is an illustration of overlapping learning groups co-creating a co-creative learning ecosystem, which can be replicated and integrated through CoCreative Learning.

NB. S.O.L.E. is the self-organised learning centre at Newcastle University[55]; Debian is a popular, free, open source software distribution based on Linux co-created by the Debian[56] community. Free University evolved from Occupy London’s Tent City University and gave birth to Critical Thinking[[57]].

It is the co-creative filtering and synthesis of relevant information from diverse sources which is so powerful.

Website, Blog/Newsletter

A daily group blog/newsletter is used to highlight articles, papers, books, videos, podcasts, other blogs etc. for discussions around issues and ideas in contention while putting them into the context of the most recent snapshot of your analysis. Have a look at other blogs to decide what platform to use. Wordpress is popular but there are others. In addition to the daily blog, you should provide information about your group on your website and invite others to join in or share relevant information.[[58]]

Beyond these two essential prerequisites (website and blog) are various other social media platforms which can be usefully deployed to enhance or accelerate learning. Before proceeding with social media, establish your group and start the Process because your understanding of, and approach to, social media will change as you learn[59].

Major digital platforms

Major digital platforms are censoring and distorting information and communication: Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube, Amazon etc. are all participating and so, they are to be treated with circumspection both as sources of information and platforms to share information.

Until you understand the Pros and Cons of social media, steer clear.

Circles of trust must be built on human relationships, honesty and integrity. An essential Principle of CoCreative Learning is wholeness - which means full disclosure. Twitter and the like don't advertise their more sinister activities which are cloaked in marketing and PR Newspeak[60].

Thinking and Making

Practical work such as co-creating art[61] [62] or an event takes thinking in different directions. Co-creative learning can align with and benefit other activities. It can be integrated into work, community activities and activism

The CoCreative Learning logo was designed in collaboration with Maggie of TechStretch[63], co-created by drawing on CriticalThinking's exploration of ancient knowledge and inspired by Miranda Lundy's Sacred Geometry.[64] In the book, she shows how to create nature's shapes using compasses, ruler and pencil. The Introduction ends with this: Just above the entrance to Plato's academy was a sign: "Let none ignorant of geometry enter here." Let's do some research.

If you want to get into computer graphics, rather than use pencil, compasses and ruler, watch this tutorial from Nick Saporito on how to construct a vector bird logo with circles that fit the golden ratio, using Inkscape (free, open source software).[65]




  • The CoCreative Learning Process may appear alien and undisciplined compared to what most people are used to; however, we need to understand that our current mode of learning has evolved to limit understanding and creativity.[66]



Sources

Those (most people) who rely on mainstream media and official “authorised” sources of information operate at a distinct disadvantage. Media and academia operate within a controlled environment in which information challenging official narratives is dismissed, ignored or suppressed. Consequently, we cannot rely on conventional news and information sources, if we want to understand the political economy.

Wikipedia is an invaluable resource for factual research when the subject matter isn't contentious. Where there is heated debate between polarised camps, dirty tricks abound. Lawrence Solomon at the National Post wrote, in 2010, about how Wikipedia’s "green doctor" rewrote 5,428 climate articles. William Connolly was banned from editing climate articles on Wikipedia for six months as a result. The original National Post article has now been deleted but may be available in the WayBackMachine[67], meanwhile the gist and extracts are held on many websites.[68]

Ecology of News, Information and Analysis

When exploring sources of information, analysis and ideas, we need to be aware of whether the source exhibits bias by framing information in line with their ideology or agenda. We must continuously consider cui bono? - who benefits? In time, we learn which sources are most impartial on which subjects and what are their "blindspots" - the information which threatens their position or they shy away from. Names of honest writers and relatively untainted media platforms become familiar, allowing us to take more of what they report on trust while continuing to verify new information with other independent, trusted sources.

Circles of trust develop among individuals and groups because they are based on human relationships, rather than mass manipulation - hence the sparing use of major social media platforms. Viable alternative platforms are emerging, such as BitChute[69] and DTube[70], using blockchain technology to create digital circles of trust.

Together we co-create a global ecology of news, information, analysis and ideas for anyone to learn from and contribute to. The essential foundations of CoCreative Learning are the circles of trust built on human relationships within your group and many others.

Propaganda

Psychology has evolved from the work of Siegmund Freud on individuals into a plethora of institutions and techniques for mass manipulation. Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, wrote the book Propaganda in 1928, since when the technology and techniques for manipulating public opinion have evolved with incredible sophistication and are delivered through all institutions: media, academia, economics, politics and beyond. [71]

Consequently, we need to go to other sources to build a narrative which accords with evidence rather than that promoted in the mainstream of society.

Principles

The following principles emerged from Critical Thinking's co-creative learning and are considered essential.

Self-Managing Organisations

Conventional wisdom assumes large complex enterprises or functions cannot exist without organisational hierarchy. Frederic Laloux's research and book, Reinventing Organizations [72], demonstrate that it is precisely large, complex tasks which are best suited to non-hierarchical organisation. [73]

Laloux's research is focused mainly on commercial organisations although the successful case studies he cites include a self-organising school in Germany.

Laloux refers to three principles which the most successful self-organising entities adopt:

caption

These are essential principles for CoCreative Learning and are self-explantory. For a deeper understanding of these principles, we refer you to Laloux's work referenced above.

Laloux demonstrates, with case studies, how self-organisation can work in practice to manage large, highly complex tasks such as making sense of the world.

Thinking and Evaluating Information

Fundamental principles for critical thinking and evaluating information are encapsulated in Bertrand Russell’s Liberal Decalogue [74]:

caption

What resources do we need for CoCreative Learning?

In so far as CoCreative Learning is facilitated by the Internet, the ability to access and share information online is essential. Beyond that, you need somewhere to meet weekly (for 40 weeks a year) for a 2 hour discussion. While it's fine to meet in someone's home, office or workplace, a "neutral" venue is better: a private room in a pub, community or public space.

Privacy isn't essential. The Critical Thinking group has conducted most of its meetings in public spaces but recently has been provided with a permanent "slot" at the London School of Mosaic[75]. Having a quiet space means conversations can be recorded and shared with your wider community as a podcast. You'll be surprised at how regularly some people will listen to your conversations and feed back information.

There is very little outlay needed to start a CoCreative Learning group. There are free blog posting platforms available which avoids the cost and hassle of your setting up your own website. Your own group website domain is useful in terms of flexibility and differentiation. Buying a website domain name for a year is typically around £10 and webhosting in the order of £5 per month. Do some research and comparison to shop around. Pay particular attention to reviews - support, when you start or in the event of technical problems, is vital. CoCreative Learning is hosted by Birch Hosting[76] using one of their Linux (free, open source software) hosting packages.

Quick Start Guide

You can dive straight in by forming your own group; if you are a member of a group already, you've taken the first step. This quick start guide more or less follows the CoCreative Learning HOWTO[[77]] sequentially. The HOWTO is worth reading, paying particular attention to the Principles[[78]] and Beware[[79]] sections. Links to relevant sections are included in this Quick Start Guide to CoCreative Learning.

Step 1 Form a group[[80]]

Step 2 Essential tools: Notebook, Pencil, Eraser[[81]]

Step 3 Hold a meeting to agree your group Identity[[82]] and your first Question(s)[[83]] to be recorded in your individual MindMaps[[84]]. Agree a schedule for 40 weeks of regular weekly meetings in a "neutral" venue[[85]]. Decide whether you want your own group website or plan to use a free blogging platform.[[86]]

Step 4 Following your first meeting, start to explore and circulate information[[87]] relevant to the current focus of your discussions. See group@ Email List[[88]].

Step 5 Follow the Process[[89]], paying special attention to the guidance in Principles[[90]] and Beware[[91]] sections of this Wiki page.

Step 6 Develop your Model[[92]] of the political economy. Don't try to create the Model, it will create itself from the Process - it will take shape and "appear" as your work progresses.

Step 7 Share your analysis by publishing your first Snapshot[[93]]. Don't be in a hurry to do this. You'll know when the time is right because you will "see" the first iteration of your Model and be able to explain it in words and pictures.

Step 8 Rinse and repeat. After you've created your first Snapshot of the political economy, you can put events and issues into context and test its validity and refine it. There will come a time when you feel it needs updating and a second Snapshot is required to contextualise information. If you are producing a new Snapshot more than once a year, you're either making phenomenal progress or you're not exploring issues deeply enough. Snapshots need to evolve rather than keep changing because the foundational analysis is deficient.

Step 9. At the risk of repetition, don't rush the Process. Like nature and the universe, co-creative learning is fluid, dynamic and circular, not static and linear. In a world that is constantly evolving, our learning too must evolve if we are to adapt and thrive.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step[94]

Beware

Money

Money drives the political economy and corrupts everything it touches. Do not attempt to become a "rentier"[95] with your website (advertising or other forms of internet revenue) nor your CoCreative Learning group (don't charge for participation). As soon as you do, your interests cease to be aligned with the pursuit of truth but will be driven by "earnings" incentives and penalties. Share the modest costs of CoCreative Learning between the individual participants in your weekly meetings.

You can earn a living from CoCreative Learning by charging for your time to share the knowledge in these pages but don't attempt to become a co-creative learning "entrepreneur" - it will corrupt your judgement and restrict your learning. Be an advocate for CoCreative Learning; it will expand your learning community and accelerate your own learning.

Self-censorship

Fear is a powerful weapon of control. Fear of death, fear of poverty, fear of social exclusion and loss of status, fear of condemnation by one's peers... these are all powerful incentives to self-censor. The system survives because of erroneous beliefs which go unchallenged - the only way those beliefs will crumble is if evidence which negates them penetrates human consciousness. For that to happen we have to speak out without fear or favour. More people are doing so today than ever before, join them.

There are no taboos in CoCreative Learning and there is no question which can't be asked. Free learning requires free speech.

The standards you adhere to yourself, you defend on behalf of others.

Ad hominem attacks

Never resort to name calling. See 4.4.2[[96]]

You will be attacked verbally or digitally from time to time but do NOT respond in kind. Rather, invite curiosity by providing hard evidence of why someone is mistaken in their view. It usually takes two or three exchanges for rational dialogue to ensue. It will quickly become obvious when you've "hit a brick wall" - that no matter what you say, they're not listening/engaging. Don't continue to bang your head against the wall - it's a waste of emotional, spiritual and intellectual energy. Gracefully withdraw while leaving the door open for them to re-engage later. There are always others to usefully give your attention to.

“Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.” ― Sun Tzu

Co-creative learning is like being a detective and you will learn more by engaging with, and asking questions of, the "other" (those with whom you vehemently disagree) than those who think like and agree with you.

Ego

Ego is an obstacle to co-creative learning.

Nothing is impossible.png

CoCreative Learning is essentially unlearning, discarding our previous beliefs to explore reality based on evidence. Consequently, if we think we already know or think we are awake, our minds are closed. Co-creative learning is an awakening which requires an open mind. Nothing in the world is fixed but fluid and evolving, as our learning must be. There are layers of lies and deception to peel away and we encounter different, evolving perceptions of reality as we peel away each layer. At each layer, we should hold "tentative conviction".[[97]]

If we're regarded as "expert", relying on our credentials and past learning as the foundation of our being, our ego is dominant and an obstacle to learning. If we feel intellectually superior to others, we fail to learn from them; often the wisest voices are those we seldom listen to. Humility pays dividends in learning but should not lead to self-censorship.[[98]]

We have to let go. Let go of ego. Let go of belief. Let go of fear.

Ideology

Ideologies are belief systems and if we are to learn, we need to shed beliefs and ideologies.[99]

Increasingly, we've become focused on "identity" - I'm a something..ist, he's a this or she's a that. Identity politics is another ideological cage which puts boundaries on exploration. Take the conversation beyond identity to what concerns us all, as human beings.

Krishnamurti.jpg

Groupthink

CoCreative Learning is the antidote to groupthink because of its Process, Principles and Sources[[100]]. MindMaps[[101]] are invaluable in deconstructing myths born of groupthink.

The Irrelevant

We are responsible for our own learning and individually, we need to prioritise our activities. Time and opportunities for Co-Creative Learning are limited. Consequently, to be effective learners, we need to decide what's important and record it in our MindMaps[[102]] - everything else is disposable, not just the irrelevant, in the sense we don't have to hold on to it within our conscious mind; it will be filed away for retrieval using our MindMaps. Similarly, our interactions with others need to be prioritised, limiting them to those directly concerned with our current focus of learning.

Prioritising your time will accelerate your CoCreative Learning but don't be impatient; there is a natural rhythm to learning - take time to focus and reflect on the now, the current subject of your deliberations, and you will be led in the right direction to expand your understanding. Co-creative learning is a natural, organic process; it only needs the right conditions to thrive.

Certainty

Certainty is a trap. It is akin to a belief which can be overturned by new information or evidence. We must apply "tentative conviction" to our work which means we assert our analysis is correct at the last snapshot[[103]] but recognise, as we dig deeper, new information or evidence may emerge to overturn our previous conviction.

Like nature and the universe, co-creative learning is fluid, dynamic and circular, not static and linear. In a world that is constantly changing and evolving, our learning too must evolve if we are to adapt and thrive.

The term "tentative conviction" comes from Peter Challen[104] whose father's words, relayed by Peter, have been adopted as the motto/guide for Critical Thinking and CoCreative Learning:

Nothing is impossible if you don't mind who gets the credit

If your name is not appended to a conviction which is subsequently overturned (as many will be), you'll have no need to try to defend an indefensible position.

Welcome and further learning

Welcome to the CoCreative Learning community. Irrespective of whether, you join or form a CoCreative Learning group, the information in this Wiki provides invaluable guidance to help your learning. The Principles and Process of CoCreative Learning are universally applicable and beneficial.

If you are looking to learn a skill, such as a language, it comes with a culture, its own folklore and philosophy. CoCreative Learning will not only accelerate your command of the language but will give you greater depth of understanding of what you read, hear and discuss. Everything is interconnected but our world views are divided by more than language. Co-creative learning helps us understand life from different perspectives to resolve conflict and disagreement.

What we hope, is to create space for a globally distributed conversation. Margaret Mead said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." which may be true, as far as it goes, but many changes have worsened our chances of survival as a species, because they invariably address symptoms rather than the underlying disease: ignorance of how the world really works. Co-creative learning is the bedrock on which to hold a global conversation to understand how we work together for a better world for everyone.

From modest beginnings, we hope to encourage others develop and agree a shared understanding, one conversation at a time. This doesn't require large numbers. There is much evidence of the power of co-creative learning and it is to do with resonance. Jazz Razool[105] has created a "resonance engine" to harness the power of co-creative learning. Sugata Mitra's SOLE experiment shows the power of co-creative learning among "uneducated" slum children in India.[106] Critical Thinking has co-created a viable model of the global political economy[107], supported by copious evidence from a widely distributed network of information sources.

We've experienced the power of co-creative learning but the only way to feel it, is to do it.

In your journey of exploration, you will meet some of the most centred, generous people on the planet. Generous with their time; their indulgence and kindness; and with their patience. You will form new relationships and reinforce existing ones but take care not to "impose" your views on others. Use questions, rather than giving answers.

Learning begins with a question. Imagine a better future and ask yourself, what are the questions, the answers to which will lead us towards that ideal?

Your first question(s)

You may already have questions and when you're ready to start, with your notebook[[108]] to the ready, note your first question(s), in one, two or three words, on the MindMap on the first page, above or around your group Identity[[109]] in the centre of the page - see 4.2.2[[110]] That question (or those questions) are the starting point for your journey of exploration.

If you don't already have a question, we suggest you consider starting your exploration around learning itself. Are the assertions made in the CoCreative Learning Introduction valid?[[111]] Your work around this question will expand your understanding and open up many opportunities for further learning to co-create with others.

Thank you

For taking time to explore and contribute to the CoCreative Learning Project. If you're engaged in co-creative learning already, even to a limited degree, this is likely reflected in the Project. This project is the product of so many people's work and inspiration, too many to quantify or name. The Critical Thinking MindMaps[112] give an indication of the breadth and diversity of contributions to our learning.

A global conversation has already started and you are most warmly invited to join in.

The CoCreation Learning Project is but one seed to grow a global ecology of co-creative learning, to reach a shared understanding of the world. It is up to us to water the seeds and give them light.

All of the methods, tools, information and materials on this Wiki are for you to use and share freely.[[113]]

For further information or guidance, email: admin [AT] cocreativelearning.org

Humility accelerates learning

CoCreative Learning Information Exchange

We hope to see a CoCreative Learning ecosystem evolve which is why we chose MediaWiki as the platform for the project. We invite people involved in co-creative learning to create their own pages.[[114]]

If anyone wants to "build" a searchable, free, open source co-creative learning information exchange, we'll gladly link this page to it. And there's no reason why there should be only one - a distributed network of information "nodes"[115] supporting the ecosystem of co-creative learning.

This is a shared endeavour to co-create a shared understanding among people - a paradigm shift in human consciousness.

While it is for others to create pages of their co-creative learning experiences, we come across other co-creative initiatives via our CoCreative Learning ecology[[116]]. For the time being, we'll share them here:

The Co-Intelligence Institute[117]

Wise Democracy Project

Together we can be wiser than any of us can be alone. We need to know how to tap that wisdom.

Healthy communities, institutions and societies -- perhaps even our collective survival -- depend on our ability to organize our collective affairs more wisely, in tune with each other and nature.

This ability to wisely organize our lives together -- all of us being wiser together than any of us could be alone -- we call co-intelligence. Co-intelligence is diverse people working really well together in ways that make things better from a bigger picture perspective - especially in the face of challenge and change.

In its broadest sense, co-intelligence involves accessing the wisdom of the whole on behalf of the whole.

Co-intelligence is emerging through new developments in democracy, organizational development, collaborative processes, the Internet and systems sciences like ecology and complexity. Today millions of people are involved in co-creating co-intelligence. Our diverse efforts grow more effective as we discover we are part of a larger evolutionary enterprise, and as we learn together and from each other.

The Co-Intelligence Institute works to further the understanding and development of co-intelligence. It focuses on catalyzing co-intelligence in the realms of politics, governance, economics and conscious evolution of ourselves and our social systems. We research, network, advocate, and help organize leading-edge experiments and conversations in order to weave what is possible into new, wiser forms of civilization.

This site includes hundreds of articles and references describing proven methods, innovative models, practical visions and the theoretical frameworks that weave them all together. It has rightly been called a treasure-trove. Welcome to its resources. You can get a good overview on our FAQ and Topics pages.

Thank you for whatever you may be doing to make groups, organizations, communities and whole cultures more effective, vibrant, sustainable and wise. We expect our work to empower yours. We welcome your support.

More information available at [118]


SOLE Central[119]

SOLE Central is a global hub for research into self-organised learning environments (SOLEs). It brings together researchers, practitioners, policymakers and entrepreneurs.

Professor Sugata Mitra’s work has transformed lives in the most disadvantaged communities in the world. Our aim is to build on these strong foundations.

Newcastle University’s School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences leads this interdisciplinary research centre.

It involves academics from across the University. Find out more about us here: [120]



FAQs

How do I start CoCreative Learning?

Go to the Quick Start Guide[[121]]

If, however, you are an independent researcher, currently not in a group and not in a position to form or join one, there are many aspects of CoCreative Learning which can be applied to your current research and may help improve your learning. The Principles, Process and Sources[[122]] are essential even without the "discussion, review and analysis" in a "group". Adopting the CoCreative Learning methodology, particularly the use of MindMaps to develop a Model[[123]] of the political economy, will accelerate your learning and expand your understanding.

How do I add our co-creative learning group to the Wiki?

We're keen to learn of other co-creative learning groups and projects and if you are involved, we'd love to learn about your work and practices to share with the wider CoCreative Learning community.

In the first instance, we ask that you create your own page on this Wiki (There is a User GuideUser's Guide[124] for guidance). We're interested to know what you're learning and how you work co-creatively. CoCreative Learning's methodology is laid out in the HOWTO[[125]] - we're really keen to learn how other groups manage the challenges in sourcing, filtering, analysing and synthesising of information.

You should include a link to your home page or blog, a location (others in your area may want to connect) and a contact email address.

How do I find other CoCreative Learning groups/communities?

See 8 CoCreative Learning Information Exchange[[126]]

I'm an independent researcher/analyst and have no desire to join or form a "group", can I still participate in CoCreative Learning?

Yes. See 9.1[[127]]

A CoCreative Learning group is your first "filter" to help you cover more ground and more easily discard the Irrelevant[[128]] but there is no reason why you can't encourage others, either groups or individuals, to adopt the Process[[129]] and Principles[[130]] thereby creating an informal "filtering" group and circle of trust to accelerate your learning and expand your understanding.

You have your own community already and practising CoCreative Learning will plug them into the wider, distributed CoCreative Learning ecology.[[131]] You and those within your "circle of trust" become "nodes"[132] within a global network of co-creative learning.

Many independent researchers are doing invaluable primary and secondary research to help the rest of us trying to make sense of the world. How much more powerful and effective would their work be, if they co-created their narrative for the political economy? - don't sing from the same "hymn sheet" but develop the narrative co-creatively.

How do I contact CoCreative Learning?

For further information or guidance, email: admin [AT] cocreativelearning.org


The CoCreative Learning Project website runs on MediaWiki.

Consult the [[User's Guide]] for information on using the wiki software.