Social Learning Systems and Communities of Practice

pp 89-101

Messy Issues, Worldviews and Systemic Competencies

  • Richard Bawden

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This chapter continues the story of the tradition of systemic praxis that emerged from Hawkesbury Agricultural College in Australia from the late 1970s. While critical social learning systems (CSLS) best describes this ongoing tradition at this present time of writing (2009), the concept of a critical learning system did not appear explicitly in the Hawkesbury literature until the mid nineties (Bawden, 1994). The seeds of this powerful notion however can be traced right back to the seminal papers describing the logic and organisation of the foundations of the initiatives in systems education at that institution (Bawden et al., 1984; Macadam and Bawden, 1985). Details of developments of the Hawkesbury initiatives over subsequent years appear in Bawden (2005) in which an extensive list of references to other publications that trace and describe intermediate developmental stages of the Hawkesbury endeavours, can also be found. While the word ‘social’ is not explicitly included in descriptions of the nature and development of critical learning systems in this endeavour, a strong emphasis on social or collective learning has been an essential feature of the initiative from the outset.