Designing and Enacting Regenerative Learning Ecologies in Higher Education

The transitions we collectively face from our current degenerative systems that are out-of-balance with life. Towards a regenerative future in which the natural and human world are in balance requires rethinking of how higher education can connect to and facilitate regional societal transformation. This research focusses on how higher education can be designed to connect deeply with regions around the institution. To connect to so-called learning ecologies and to cross the knowledge-action gap to bring more sustainable futures into action. PhD candidate Bas van den Berg will engage with this research as a practitioner enacting a regenerative learning ecology that will connect with eight living labs throughout the province of South-Holland. In this regenerative learning ecology, learners develop their leadership capacity to transgress current reality and bring regenerative alternatives into action through the translation of emergent futures into tangible artefacts and interventions.

In collaboration between the faculty of Technology, Innovation & Society and research Centre Mission Zero, a minor (Mission Impact) has been launched as a case study for this research. This research draws on concepts from educational and leadership studies, namely: sustainability-oriented ecologies of learning, transformative learning and action confidence from leadership studies. The Hague case study will work towards (1) design principles for regenerative learning ecologies that facilitate action towards regenerative futures. (2) To explore the lived-experience of educators enacting a regenerative learning ecology. (3) Finally, the relational ethics and educational philosophical implications of enacting these learning ecologies are researched. The results will be translated to training materials for educators to redesign their own practice. The research will consist of a methodological combination of Educational Design Research (EDR) and analytical evocative autoethnography building on a relational ontology. Building on creative research methods to gather a variety of data. Methods that will be used include field observations, writing-as-research, collective reflective sessions, photo-elicited semi-structured interviews, aesthetic analysis (artful reflections from learners) and educational document analysis.

About Bas van den Berg

Bas van den Berg is the educational coordinator of the Centre of Expertise Mission Zero at the Hague University of Applied Sciences and external PhD-candidate at the Chair group Education & Learning Sciences. His research interest focus on how higher education can be redesigned to tackle wicked eco-social problems and what this type of regenerative learning asks from educators and educational design. Exploring how ecologies of learning can be designed that connect societal learning-based change with the transition towards more regenerative futures. Bas has a background in chemical and food engineering (bachelor) and innovation studies (master). At The Hague university he leads large scale educational innovation projects such as The Challenge, coordinates the Mission Impact minor and lectures in courses related to sustainability, circular economy, ethics and regenerative futuring. With his PhD-research he aims to explore how education can be redesigned to contribute to better futures and to help other educators to do the same. In his free time he enjoys (plant-based) cooking, weightlifting, video gaming and reading.


Project Team