Embracing Complexity in Education

Laptop, map, and a hand holding a pen hovering over the map

Created by Marion Smallbones as part of the Digital Futures course for the MSc in Digital Education, this resource is a mini-course or workshop for postgraduate level education professionals, and provides participants with the opportunity to reflect on their practice through the lens of complexity and consider implications for their work.

It aims to ‘explore complexity through complexity’, taking an experiential look at:

  • Learning as an ecosystem
  • Knowledge as emergence
  • Non-linearity, serendipity, discovery
  • Interaction – between people
  • Interaction – between ideas

The course materials and design are presented here as an OER ‘toolkit’, available for reuse and adaptation. The toolkit consists of:


Facilitator guide and background information

Guidelines for teachers or facilitators, providing further information on the methodology and structure of the course, as well as facilitation suggestions.


Participant materials for facilitator-led course

Guidelines and resources for participants are presented here in Google Slides. Make a copy and use as they are, make adjustments, or even transfer to a learning platform suitable for your context.


Library of resources

Curated list of open access resources on complexity, which you are free to make use of.


Stand-alone ‘self-serve’ version of the course – no facilitator required

This version of the course is designed for individuals to work through on their own. This option may limit the collaborative element of the course design, although participants can be encouraged to form part of an ad hoc online community. For this reason, the tasks and structures are slightly different to the facilitator-led version.

To access this, participants simply open the Google slide presentation and get going.


See other OER created by Digital Futures students

Learn more about the Digital Futures course



Header image: Planning a trip over coffee, by rawpixel.com on Unsplash