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Holistic Design Approach to Innovative Education

 eduPermaculture is a design approach to education that centers around simulating experiences and directly utilizing the behaviors, strategies, practices, and systems found in successful, real world learning environments and integrating them into school learning experiences and ecosystems.


The problem we face as educators today is the "artificial," industrial-inspired learning that takes place in many schools; learning that is fundamentally different from the successful learning that occurs in the real world. Artificial learning involves traditional, teacher-centered approaches where students learn in a way that is fundamentally different from the way learning occurs in the real world. These learning experiences are not significantly relevant to the current landscape outside of education where the future is more uncertain and ambiguous than ever before.

These learning experiences also lack the emphasis on crucial and effective learning dispositions, mindsets, practices, and culture that can help students become successful, lifelong learners. Current school structures and systems, as well as constructs and ideas created by educators and schools, often prevent meaningful, authentic learning from transpiring; learning that will better prepare them for any context. 



eduPermaculture is an education design approach of design pillars focused around simulating and directly utilizing the behaviors, strategies, practices, and systems found in successful, real world learning environments. Everyday professionals effectively learn new knowledge and skills and apply them to produce innovative work. It happens in different learning environments, like in the workplace, schools, social interactions, play and recreation. eduPermaculture provides educators a design approach that simulates these types of successful, real world learning environments. What better way to prepare students for their future than to take what effectively works in the real world and implement it into their education design. 

In eduPermaculture it is crucial for educators to see themselves as designers of learning landscapes that maximizes student creativity, productivity, and efficiency.  As designers, educators learn about patterns and trends that lay the foundations of future innovations. They also look towards successful, real world learning environments, especially those outside of education, to gain a deep understanding of the world they are preparing their students for. As designers, they empathize with their students to design learning experiences that are engaging and meets their needs, view the education experience holistically, and solve problems that exist in learning landscapes. They adapt to new situations when newly discovered needs and insights are found, and are constantly looking to make improvements to their learning landscapes. Additionally, eduPermaculture provides educators and administrators the framework to help design, implement, sustain and improve innovative initiatives and programs that transform educational experiences. 


Our mission is to provide stakeholders in education with the tools and training they need to apply holistic design pillars and principles that produce consciously developed learning environments that simulate or directly use the behaviors, strategies, practices, and systems found in successful learning environments.


Our goal is to empower every stakeholder to develop systems and habits of learning that render them future-ready, empowered citizens who have the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and learning abilities to succeed in their future professions, projects, personal lives, and civic duties.


The name eduPermaculture stems from “permaculture,” a term first coined by two Australians, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren.  They were curious to see why natural, self-sustaining ecosystems produced so much biomass compared to human-made systems of cultivation. They found that natural ecosystems contain patterns and functional interconnections between its key elements. These landscape designers developed the concept of permaculture, "consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre, and energy for provision of local needs." It is the process of trying to make a fairly direct imitation of the natural ecosystems to produce high yields. Therefore, eduPermaculture is the process of trying to make a fairly direct imitation of successful, effective real world learning and work. 


eduPermaculture provides educators with a design approach to education that fosters students’ development in ... 

  • Rigorous, creative practices to develop innovative solutions and high quality work in inquiry-based learning experiences focused on real-world problems and experiences.

  • Essential skills that prepare students for successful work and citizenship (creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, adaptability, and initiative).

  • Developing empowering mindsets and dispositions that is beneficial to learning, creativity, socio-emotional wellbeing, and community-building.

eduPermaculture also provides educators with a design approach that helps design, implement, sustain and improve innovative initiatives and programs that transform educational experiences. 


In an eduPermaculture 'ecosystem,' it consists of design pillars and principles that are implemented to successfully fulfill the vision of the design approach. Design pillars are the four foundational, interdependent domains of the design approach.

The four key pillars of eduPermaculture are Transdisciplinary Pedogogy, Applied Learning Practices, Culture of Hope, and Systems for Sustainability. Transdisciplinary Pedagogy (TP) is the teaching approach where students take on the role of professionals and engage in complex, real world challenges, questions, and problems in the form of performance tasks. The Applied Learning Practices (ALP) involve the rigorous application of knowledge and skills from multiple disciplines required to answer meaningful questions and solve complex problems. Culture of Hope (CH) in an educational environment/atmosphere that promotes and develops the learning behaviors, attitudes, and dispositions that nurture successful, real world learning. Finally Systems for Sustainability (SS) are the systems in place that ensure the success, improvement, and sustainability of a learning ecosystem through collaborative opportunities among stakeholders. So as a result, educators design authentic learning experiences (Transdisciplinary Pedagogy), where students use learning processes and practices (Applied Learning Practices) to solve relevant and meaningful problems, in a learning environment that promotes creative and empathetic thinking (Culture of Hope). All of this is possible through the implementation of systems and improvement protocols (Systems for Sustainability). 


These pillars work with one another through a mutually-beneficial relationship, similar to the interdependent elements of an ecosystem found in nature that keep it sustainable and self-sufficient. The effectiveness of each pillar depends on the effectiveness and support of the other pillars.  For example, students can only utilize applied learning practices effectively if the educators designed real-world learning experiences through transdisciplinary pedagogy, and provided them with a learning environment that contains a culture of hope. 

eduPermaculture Design Pillars (1).png
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