Covid-19 and the Epigenetics of Learning

Covid-19 is a natural phenomenon that has rapidly upended much of the cultural infrastructure of societies across the globe. Education, which in recent years increasingly tied itself to notions of global culture and markets, is deeply threatened by these changes to the natural environment. This paper makes the case that the relationship between nature and culture in education requires a deep level analysis of the biological and physical substrate of human learning. Only with a sufficiently fundamental level of analysis can society reorganise its systems of learning and scientific inquiry to this rapidly changing environment. Drawing on evolutionary biology, we argue that institutional and individual structures and processes are recapitulations of evolutionary cellular development. Understanding the impact of Covid-19 on cells presents an invitation to consider the larger-scale cultural recapitulations of similar mechanisms and structures, and this has implications for the ways education might most effectively deploy technology. Whilst universities seek to maintain their existing structures, practices and business models, a cellular evolutionary approach points to the necessity for fundamental rethinking of intellectual life and learning. We consider the parameters of effective educational organisation in a post-Covid-19 world. As the richness and variety of the physical campus is removed, viable educational relationships will necessitate deeper intellectual connections and personal inquiries than are currently permitted in the transactional processes of education.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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