Generative Knowing: Principles, Methods, and Dispositions of an Emerging Adult Learning Theory
Aliki Nicolaides
ISBN 9781975503994

Generative Knowing explores the mystery of learning from the unknown in ways that reveal that learning is a dynamic phenomenon, encompassing both personal and societal contexts. Dewey defines learning in terms of experience, reflection, continuity, and interactivity. When learning happens, it eventually solidifies into reliable truths that become a shortcut for taking action or making decisions―thus a habit of learning is formed and becomes rigid. Generative knowing is an emerging theory of adult learning that seeks the not-yet-foreknown potential that waits to be uncovered in the richness of experience. The book delivers vignettes of different lived experiences of being and becoming, signaling multiple ways in which a person shapes and transcends traditional conceptions of self-other binary activating the power to respond to the ongoing complex evolution of self and society.

Generative Knowing seeks to accomplish four goals: to offer a unique exploration of learning, positioned as response-ability that illuminates the relatedness of learning and complex, ambiguous, unsolvable challenges that are recognizable in society as social challenges (i.e. forced migration) to present and distinguish an emerging theory of adult learning, generative knowing. Generative knowing emerged as a distinct learning disposition at the intersections of personal meaning making capacity (developmental psychology) encountering the characteristics of rising ambiguity (complexity sciences) and the lived experience of undergoing experience to make visible and help others make the connections between generative knowing at a personal level and the complex, ambiguous unsolvable challenges in today’s society, and to provide illustrations of what generative knowing entails, how it shapes personal and societal transformation and how that may support educators, facilitator activists and change activists to make space for generative knowing when complex challenges call for both personaland societal transformations.

Adult education as a field of practice is presently grappling with how adults learn in a world being recomposed by a global pandemic. Generative knowing―defined as ways of being and becoming that creatively activate potential―restores many rhythms of learning, helping readers gain fresh perspectives on how learning emerges from the unknown. The vital and personal stories in this book guide readers to walk in the territory of the unknown and to pay attention to the sensations of entanglements of self with multiple societal forces as a new way of learning.