Where does learning happen?

Education doesn’t just happen in schools, colleges and universities. But even they are changing.

Deepening knowledge in 21st century education means embracing the complexities of emergent learning, thinking of ourselves as living systems where flexibility and adaptation are paramount.

Learning as a living system emphasises the importance of context and conditions over rigid control – fostering an environment where knowledge can flourish organically.

What happens in the real world?

Where does maths, language and art come alive at work, or as we build new ideas?

Innovating in education – by integrating real-world projects like designing solutions for local issues – allows all learners to apply diverse skills in a practical context, enhancing understanding through active engagement.

always possible’s role in helping build projects like Talent Accelerator, Creative Tech Fest, Cities of Learning and Essex 2020 has deepened our understanding of how to create interactive ‘classrooms’ on street corners, theatres and car factories.

A selection of images from Creative Tech Fest Basildon 2024. 

  • Why this approach?
    • Emphasises the interconnectedness of knowledge and the real world.
    • Advocates for a shift from linear to organic learning models.
    • Highlights the role of educators in creating conducive learning environments.
    • Underlines the necessity of embracing complexity and uncertainty in education.
    • Enmables a re-evaluation of traditional assessment methods to accommodate more creative learning pathways.

The transition to emergent learning models in education is crucial for preparing learners to navigate the uncertainties of the future.

By focusing on this type of learning, educators can cultivate a generation of learners adept at problem-solving, critical thinking, and adaptability, essential skills in an ever-changing world.

Schools and businesses collaborating on project-based learning that emphasises real-world challenges enable students to develop a deeper understanding and connection to their studies, and the world they will be building.


  • What’s the point?
    • Encourages collaboration and communication among learners.
    • Integrates critical thinking and problem-solving in the learning process.
    • Promotes adaptability and flexibility in response to new information.
    • Fosters a deeper connection between education and societal needs.
    • Challenges traditional educational structures to innovate for future readiness.

Educators and policymakers are embracing and emergent learning strategies, but it’s messy and time is limited. But by recognising the dynamic nature of knowledge we see the need for an education system that prepares learners for the complexities of the future.

How can our experience help reimagine learning in your town, city or sector?

Listen to our interview with Dr Benjamin Freud, global leader on emergent education in practice –  on The Possibility Club podcast.