ZML Didaktik / Innovative Learning Scenarios

Posts Tagged ‘footprints of emergence

Today I carried out a workshop in the school “Rainergymnasium” in Vienna, with 68 school students between 14-15 years and from three different classes. Their teacher Vera Kadlec invited me to support the students to reflect their experiences in an IMST project with special regard to the subject informatics.


The workshop was planned for two school hours. I started with a short introduction to emergent learning and the footprints of emergence. Then each student drew his or her individual footprint using a sheet with further information; the sheet contains a question for each factor and a picture which visualizes the factor.


As the weather was beautiful most of the groups worked in the open. Vera, her colleague Jochen Reichert and I observed the students drawing their footprints and helped them if necessary. During the process of drawing the footprints the students asked a few questions about specific factors. One student felt that the questions in the sheet need a “yes” or “no” contrary to the footprint template where there is a continuum for each factor.

After the first school hour many students had finished their drawings. In the second hour I started to discuss the footprints with groups of students whereas Vera and Jochen supported the others to finish their footprints as well.


Some observations of the footprints

Cluster Open/structure:

  • A student put the factor risk in the sharp emergent zone. She said that despite of learning a lot for the exam there are questions she cannot answer. Therefore she feels a lot of risk to fail.
  • Another student loved the possibility to learn in other places than in school (lim).
  • Many of them positioned the ambiguity factor in the sharp emergent zone or at the edge of chaos (amb). In the analysis of the footprints Vera will check if this result is related to the specific school class.
  • One student created a footprint with rather high factors of disruption and self-correction. He told me that in class he often cannot finish his work (high disruption factor) and he hates it. Then he has to solve the problem by himself after class (high self-correction) and he likes it. This was an interesting learning experience for the group, that sometimes we like to be challenged and sometimes not.
  • Many students spoke in a positive manner about different learning paths.


Cluster Interactive Environment

  • Many students gave the factor experiential a high value. With respect to this factor they reflected mostly their experience in the subject chemistry.

Cluster Agency

  • Many students were stressed because they often had to organize themselves and be autonomous. Some of them didn’t like this at all and put the factor self-orgainsation and autonomy into chaos.
  • In the discussions I was not sure if the students understood the factor identity. They see very clear and fixed roles of being students or teachers (alas a factor in the prescribed zone) whereas some of them put the factor identity into the (sharp) emergent zone.


Cluster: Presence / Writing

  • We discussed the factor solitude and contemplation (S&C) which was sometimes in the sharp emergent zone. The students said that if they do not succeed in finishing their work in class the professor allows them to finish it at home. But they find it hard and difficult to work alone at home.

After the workshop Vera and I discussed our impressions of the interaction with the students.


Altogether the students said that they are happy to learn within a structured learning environment and that they didn’t want more freedom in learning. Furthermore they stated that during the first semester the design of their learning space was more open and more closed in the second semester.

With respect to the workshop 68 school students were too much to deal with. Next time we will do a workshop with every class again.

At the moment I’m sitting in this wonderful garden enjoying a splendid day in the Lake District. I’m told that normally it’s raining here all the time so I’m very lucky to experience already the third day of sun in the companionship of Jenny Mackness.


Of course we didn’t only walk and cycle and eat and chat – but were engaged in a profound discussion of our presentation about the footprints of emergence at the Networked Learning Conference in Lancaster – improving and finalizing it as well. Jenny believes that we could have invested more time and could have been more focused on the topic of our presentation but I’m confident about the power of emergent learning and our wandering around in the real landscape and in our inner landscapes.

Chatting with Jenny means to share experiences, to discuss believes, to get new ideas for collaboration, to get new books to read … and as we mostly meet online these face-to-face days are very valuable.


Jenny likes to learn in MOOCs and it seems that if she starts a MOOC she will finish it as well – which is not true for all the MOOCs I learned in. As I was in love with the Change11 MOOC (and did finish it!) my ideal MOOC would be an open and challenging cMOOC as well. But when I convinced people of my university that we should develop and offer a MOOC to get experiences about its potential and opportunities I had to acknowledge that nor our students nor my teacher colleagues would profit from a pure cMOOC.

Therefore we went for a hybrid design in the case of our Competences for Global Collaboration MOOC (cope15) with a weekly structure, learning materials including videos by experts and 2-3 tasks by week. Nevertheless I fought for a design as open as possible which challenges the learners by offering a lot of learning opportunities, encouraging them to look for further information about the topics and sharing them with other learners. And I gave them the opportunity to draw a footprint of emergence in the last week of our MOOC to reflect their learning process.

In preparing our paper Jenny and I investigated the footprints of the learners and the design footprint of the MOOC. We perceived a certain success of the design intentions and we liked the attitude of the learners engaged with the footprints. Of course further work analyzing footprints of emergence and relating them to learning scenarios and to individual learners has to be done.

Today my colleague Erika and I supported students of physiotherapy to draw their first footprint after completing their first placement. It’s fun to watch them struggling with the concept behind the footprints. 

Based on the description of the footprint terminology of Jenny Mackness and Roy Williams we translated the questions for the factors into German and adapted them for school and university students. We tried to use a simple language but keep hold of the complexity. That was no easy task at all! Furthermore we are using many of the pictures of Roy’s mapping sheet in the Footprint WIKI. But I’m not sure if they are free to use. Therefore I don’t share digital versions of our handouts. 

The students draw the footprints per hand using the German version of this template.


It’s nice when the students get new insights into their learning process at the placement.

I’m looking forward to discuss the footprints of emergence with you and Jenny Mackness at Lancaster during the 10. Networked Learning conference.

To Jenny’s post about our presentation

In knapp zwei Wochen, am Dienstag, dem 10. Mai werden Jenny Mackness und ich auf der 10. Networked Learning Konferenz über den Einsatz der Footprints of Emergence erzählen.


Die Networked Learning Konferenz in Lancaster ist eine bedeutende E-Learning Tagung mit hohem theoretischem Anspruch, was mich als Praktikerin etwas unter Druck setzt. Sie findet alle zwei Jahre statt. Im Jahr 2000 war ich bereits einmal dort und sprach über Networked Learning in Applied Science Education. Diesmal steht die Tagung unter dem Motto Looking back – moving forward, gar nicht so unterschiedlich von der Thematik unseres heurigen 15. E-Learning Tages im September, bei dem wir die letzten 15 Jahre kritisch reflektieren.

Jenny Mackness  lernte ich 2011 online kennen und schätzen. Wie ich liebt sie im Netz ihren Blog und twitter – oder zumindest sind das die Medien, durch die wir hauptsächlich in Kontakt sind. Der Austausch mit Jenny beflügelt meine emergent learning Prozesse – immer wieder regt sie mich zu neuen schrägen Aktivitäten an (etwa gerade eben verlockt mich ihre Beschreibung, wie sie Comics zeichnete) oder wir treffen uns in denselben Online-Lernräumen.

2014 hielt sie gemeinsam mit Roy Williams die Keynote an unserem 13. E-Learning Tag, in der die beiden über ihre Erfindung der Footprints of Emergence sprachen. Damals – in Graz – traf ich sie zum ersten Mal persönlich und nächste Woche fliege ich nach Lancaster zu unserem zweiten persönlichen Treffen. Ich freue mich schon sehr auf unseren Austausch und gemeinsame Spaziergänge.

In unserer Präsentation auf der Konferenz (siehe Abstract) werden wir von der Verwendung der Footprints of Emergence im Rahmen des Competences  for Global Collaboration MOOC erzählen- siehe Jenny’s Blogpost über unser Vorhaben. Die Visualisierung des MOOC-Designs als Footprint of Emergence war überaus nützlich für die Diskussion im Projektteam, das advanced assignment in Woche 6 sollte die Lernenden dazu verführen mit einem Footprint den eigenen Lernprozess im MOOC zu reflektieren. 49 TeilnehmerInnen beschäftigten sich mit der Methode und erstellten einen Footprint.

Ich bin schon neugierig auf die Konferenz, auf networked learning 2016 und freue mich auf einen spannenden Austausch.


Seit Jahren verwende ich die Footprints of emergence zur Reflexion meiner Lernerfahrungen. Die letzten sechs Tage verbrachte ich auf einem gruppendynamischen Seminar und ich erlebte eine recht heftige Lernerfahrung. Das gruppendynamische Setting – sich 40 Einheiten im Sesselkreis gegenübersitzen, in Austausch kommen, Beobachtungen und Gefühle teilen – hat mich stark gefordert. (siehe auch Peter Brügge: Ich lasse mich nicht auseinandernehmen, 1970).


Ich glaube, seit meiner Teilnahme am Change11-MOOC war das meine heftigste Lernerfahrung. In allen vier Clustern gibt es Faktoren, denen ich Werte im Chaos (ganz außen) zugeordnet habe.

Cluster Offenheit/Struktur: Ich empfand die Weiterbildung als gefährlich (Risk), galt es doch, sich ehrlich und ungeschminkt mit anderen und mir selbst auseinanderzusetzen. Den entstandenen Lernraum empfand ich als grenzenlos (Lim), was anstrengend war! Die Faktoren Störung, Selbstkorrektur, Viele Lernwege (Dis, S/C, Mp) liegen hingegen im Bereich der sweet emergence, da das Setting recht starr vorgegeben war.

Cluster Interaktive Lernumgebung: Die Diversität der Menschen in der Gruppe, die Diversität ihrer Geschichten und Bedürfnisse (Div) war immer wieder einmal zuviel für mich. So stark mit anderen – im Netzwerk -zusammenzuarbeiten (FIN) war eine Grenzerfahrung für mich, ging es doch darum Vertrauen in die Gruppe (Trust) aufzubauen, auch zu mir selbst, und Persönlichkeiten – “Minds” – zu begegnen, die anders sind, anders lernen (ToM).

Cluster Persönliche Entwicklung: Meine Bewertung der Faktoren hier ist sehr unterschiedlich. Einige Faktoren finden sich nahe der vorgeschriebenen Zone. Ich empfand, dass ich viele Möglichkeiten der Einflussnahme (OAff) hatte, obwohl ich wenig frei im Bereich der Selbstorganisation (SOrg), Autonomie (A), Verhandelbarkeit von Ergebnissen (NegO) war. Als sehr anstrengend und manchmal zuviel war für mich die Auseinandersetzung mit meiner Identität (ID).

Cluster Eigener Stil / Selbstpräsenz: Auch in diesem Cluster forderte mich das Netzwerk (Net). Kein reales Netzwerk, da ich meine Kontakte zur Außenwelt in diesen sechs Tagen minimierte, sondern mein inneres Netzwerk, wenn ich mittags bei wunderschönem Wetter meist alleine spazieren ging und im inneren Dialog mit den anderen TeilnehmerInnen oder sonstigen mir wichtigen Menschen war.

An diesem Footprint ist für mich meine stark unterschiedliche Bewertung der Faktoren im Cluster der Persönlichen Entwicklung neu. Ich “lernte wenig” in Bezug auf Lernautonomie und war trotzdem in diesem Cluster sehr stark gefordert.

Diesen Footprint verwende ich auch in der ersten Woche meines Online-Kurses Fußabdrücke von Lernprozessen, der gestern begonnen hat.

Footprints of emergence are a great tool to reflect learning scenarios. You can understand a learning process as traveling – and on the other hand see traveling as a learning process.

I spent the last months from 15. October 2015 until 30. Januar 2016 traveling in Argentine, and a little bit in Chile and Brasilia as well. I visited the south of Argentine – Patagonia, the middle – Buenos Aires (province and city) and Rosario, the northeast – La Rioja, San Juan, Mendoza and Valparaíso en Chile, the north – Iguazú (the great waterfalls), Salta, Jujuy and Tucumán. From October 2015 to 31. December 2015 I was traveling alone, in January 2016 I travelled together with my husband Gert in the north of Argentine.

About once a month I reflected my experiences with a footprint of emergent learning.

  1. footprint of my “travel design”, which I discussed in my last post.
  2. first day in Patagonia after two weeks in Buenos Aires and Rosario
  3. reflecting three weeks in Patagonia 03-footprint-after-patagonia-nov15
  4. at the end of the year reflecting the period of traveling alone 04-footprint-end-if-traveling-alone-dec15
  5. reflecting January, traveling with my husband  05-fotoprint-norden-argentinien-jan16

2nd footprint (yellow)

Some facts about the first two weeks of my journey: 15. Oktober flight to Buenos Aires, walking in the city, living in a hotel. First week – Monday to Friday: spanisch course in a small language school, living with a an elderly woman. Second week: Sunday to Friday: visit of my family in Rosario, going there by bus. 31.10. Saturday flight to Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego.

Reflection (31. October): This footprint is challenging but ok. The first two weeks in Argentina went very well and I feel confident of my future in Patagonia. In this footprint based on my experiences until now I mostly value the factors according to my feelings for the next 20 days in Patagonia. How I’m feeling now about this future.

I don’t feel a lot of risk. I have reservations for the next four days in Ushuaia, after that I haven’t planned yet where to go and what to do. But I spoke with my cousin Ligia in Rosario about my travel and she suggested possibilities and connected me with her friend Yamila, who lives in El Chaltén and who can help me.

The lines of the clusters open/structure and interactive environment look similar, oscillating between the emergent and sharp emergent zone. My travel will be exciting, I will see a lot, meet many different people.

In the cluster agency of course the self-organization is challenging, but identity as well. Who am I? Traveling alone, far away from everybody. Who can I be?

3rd footprint (orange)

Some facts: I spent some days in Tierra del Fuego (Ushuaia and Río Grande), crossed the Trait of Magellan in a ferry boat, visited the Chilean part of South-Patagonia (Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, Parque Torres del Paine), and the Argentine highlights (El Calafate with the glacier Perrito Moreno, El Chaltén with Fitz Roy and other great mountains).

Reflection (25. November): Patagonia with sun and snow, traveling in buses and ships, walking the mountains, not being able to get money at the bank or to pay with a card (5 days in El Chaltén), seeing incredible landscapes, meeting very different persons, people traveling, people working, getting a lot of help in the decisions what to do.

I organized the trip in the Chilean part of Patagonia by myself and Yamila booked my hotels in El Calafate and El Chaltén. Our interaction was stressful for me because internet in Tierra del Fuego didn’t work well and I didn’t know what she needs from me.

The footprint is as I’m feeling now – with the history of Patagonia, not looking in the future.

In the open/structure cluster I’m in the emergent zone. The values are a little bit lower than in the yellow footprint. Now I’m an advanced traveller, the space I create is mostly a secure space.

With respect to  the interactive environment there is such a lot of diversity,  from nature to people, observing the elections of a new president, reading newspapers.

I’m challenged in self organization and autonomy. E.g. I’m a little bit afraid of doing simple things as going to the cinema, getting a ticket for the theater. In these encounters with people the language is specific and focussed, and I struggle with understanding and using the right words.

And – the factor solitude and contemplation was challenging but nevertheless there were casual encounters as well 🙂

Fourth footprint (green)

Some facts: In the last month of my traveling alone I went to San Clemente del Tuyú at the Pacific for 6 days, flew to La Rioja in the Northeast, visited Villa Unión and the Talampaya Parque, stayed in San Juan and Mendoza, took the bus across the Andes and went to Valparaíso, Chile at the Pacific. I stayed 6 days in Valparaiso looking for a possibility to swim in the ocean and turned to Buenos Aires via Santiago de Chile.

Reflection (31. December): In December I struggled with being alone. Traveling was not such a large challenge any more and I had a lot of time with myself during the 6 days stays at the Pacific and Atlantic. I realised that I was very happy to be alone in my first 1,5 month but not so much in the month. My perception of my identity changed: I’m happy to be alone, sometimes – 2,5 month were too much. Sometimes I was happy that the days passed. I was looking forward to meeting Gert at the end of the year.

Therefore in the footprint the cluster of open/structure changed.

The time around Christmas I spent with my family – without any time for myself, chatting all day about politics, and then I was happy to have 2 days in Buenos Aires for myself again.

Now I’m very curios how traveling with Gert will be.

Fifth footprint (pink)

Some facts: My husband and I met at Iguazú at the famous waterfalls for New Year’s Eve. Then we flew to Salta and by car we visited Jujuy (with the famous salt lakes), the province of Salta and Tucumán where we spent a night in the observatory Ampimpa. The last days we stayed in Buenos Aires and Rosario.

Reflection (21. February 16): The footprint as a whole is in the zone of (sweet) emergent learning. Traveling together is challenging with respect to my identity, but is not the much experimental, I’m not that autonomous, and the factors of networking and meeting others’ minds have smaller values.

It’s noticeable that the cluster presence/writing only shows some emergent aspects. Traveling together means that I’m more mindful of my partner, of our traveling together and less mindful of other people or my own writing and reflecting.

In the next months I will be travelling in Argentina. As I believe that we learn a lot in new and strange learning environments I want to reflect my ‘travel learning design’ drawing a footprint of emergence.

The footprints of emergence are a great method to explore the boundaries of learning. How open is the learning design, how challenging is my learning experience? How much will I grow in the next months? Where will I find secure, protective environments?

I will leave Europe in the middle of October and return at the end of January. During this time I will not work because of a sabbatical leave. I have planned the first 20 days of my travel in detail – I  know where I will sleep, I will attend a Spanish class in Buenos Aires, visit a part of my family in Rosario, fly to Ushuaia where I have booked two excursions as well. In November and December I will travel from Tierra del Fuego to Buenos Aires. During this time I’m free to decide where to stay and where to go. On 31. December I have a reservation for a flight to Iguazu where I will meet my husband to celebrate New Year’s Eve together. In January we will travel in the northern part of Argentina.


Reflecting my travel design I’m asking myself:

  • Will I succeed to be ‘happy’ travelling alone? Will I meet interesting people? (on the other hand I’m very looking forward to be alone, free, without need of discussions what to do and when)
  • How will I deal with this lot of free time? Will I learn to do ‘nothing’, maybe only observing nature, people,…? Normally I’m busy all the time – and during my travel I will not be able to carry enough books with me (and I will not use ebooks).
  • Will I emerge into Argentina’s way of life, understanding the language, catch a glimpse how people life in Patagonia?

Before I discuss my footprint in detail I’m curios what you think about it 😉