Guide to the Principles of Emergent Learning

Our intention for this guide is to give new practitioners a comprehensive introduction to the principles of Emergent Learning and to share stories from other practitioners about their significance in practice. For people completely new to EL, our aim is to provide a window into the intention behind these practices; to give you a deeper sensibility about what EL is about and when, why, and how you might apply these practices to your work.

This is a guide written in the spirit of emergence and community — by practicing members of the EL Community. For those who are new to Emergent Learning, each chapter begins with a definition and description of why this principle matters, along with what it might look like when the principle is present in our work or absent. Beyond that, authors have been encouraged to express their own unique voice and perspective about what this principle means to them. This in and of itself is emergent and exemplary of the intention and principles of Emergent Learning.

The Emergent Learning Community Project would like to thank The Skillman Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, and BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina Foundation for their generous support, which made it possible to produce and provide this guide electronically at no cost. If you find this guide useful and would like to provide support to the Emergent Learning Community Project please click here.

This .pdf file can be read online, downloaded, added to a Kindle, or read on an iPad via Apple Books.

A print-on-demand version of the Guide is now available. EL Community volunteers wrote this guide and our Foundation partners covered production costs.  The Amazon price of $14.55 covers only the cost of printing your guide.

Support the EL Community Project

The Guide to the Principles of Emergent Learning is a tangible expression of how the Emergent Learning Community is supporting individuals and organizations interested in social change.  If you find this guide helpful and instructive, we hope you will consider contributing to the EL Community Project which supports the community.  

Project funding supports monthly and advanced practice community conversations, research into impact, the development of written and video materials and case studies, faculty development and the creation of new training programs.

The EL Community Project welcomes grants to provide core support or to sponsor specific ELCP projects. Contributions can be made online here or, to discuss grant options, please contact Marilyn Darling.