First time I heard about personal learning networks (PLNs) was in 2012. I worked with educators who saw interactions on social media as a professional development journey. Back then, I wondered – how could a social network developed for a learning purpose look like?

Personal Learning Network to me means learning while browsing the Internet, a lifelong learning journey, that is curiosity-driven which leads to project-based learning. Add feedback loops from diverse connections to the mix and here’s a continuous informal peer-to-peer learning process that is about self-realisation and collaboration. Oh, and skills! Critical thinking and creativity (diverse topics lead to creative thought) are developed through interactions as we go too.

Now, I’m learning about systems thinking at Capra course, so zooming in on links within a network. As I’m involved in many diverse networks, I wonder:

How to map my personal learning network? That is, share insights from parts and see the whole?

Learning Systems

All living systems are learning systems;

Life as a pattern of relationships; a self-generating network within a boundary of its own making; membrane is always active as a boundary, always opens and closes; life as metabolic networks: flow;

The more fluctuation, the more flexible system is; pattern is stable, structure changes (structural coupling); only disturb people, not direct;

Every interaction with the environment causes structural changes within the system

Capra Course


Can a system have no boundary?

What’s a healthy level of fluctuation?

What exactly happens when a system interacts with the environment? What are these structural changes?

I wonder..

The future of education: learners realising they’re learning systems already, the role of teachers as feedback loops. What disturbances are worthy in learning environments? 

How could a self-directed learning be the future of education? Seeing our bodies+minds as a learning system, where our knowledge graph changes based on interaction with environment, new neurons in the brain grow when we learn.


I continue to explore Living Systems philosophy based on Mansoor Vakili’s thinking. Here are my current questions.

Questions, Part One:

  1. Universe as Energy and Information Pattern:
    • What is this pattern’s representation? 
    • How does dynamism (‘dance of energy’) fit with static processes? 
  2. The 3rd Shift (Consciousness):
    • What does it mean “when we observe the universe it responds to our observation”? Does it mean that reality in our heads happen when we pause to pay attention?
  3. The 4th Shift (Networks):
    • How to study these processes and relationships as a beginner? What are the fundamentals/language/vocabulary of this study?
  4. The 6th Shift (Chaos and Order):
    • How to determine the balance of chaos and order in a living system?
    • What is some example approach for studying and understanding how chaos theory works in practice? 
  5. Modelling the Living Systems:
    • How can we model a minimum viable system, so that we understand and embody it? 

Questions, Part Two and Three:

  1. Synchronicity: “when a nonlinear network reaches a critical point of instability, a new order spontaneously emerges. In this stage, the elements synchronize in full cooperation, creating a whole”
    • What conditions are needed for this to happen?
    • How might we foster conditions for human synchronisation? 
  2. Randomness:
    • What’s the connection there: ‘6 degrees of separation in human population’ and randomness?
  3. Non-Linear Systems and Cause/Effect:
    • Hmm?
  4. Power-Law Distribution: “non-linear networks are mostly made of order with only a little randomness”
    • Hmm?
    • What is a healthy/balanced level of order and randomness is a system? How to go about it when creating a new system?
  5. Fractals:
    • How do we work with fractals? How to create a new system with this approach? Or how to analyse an existing system with this approach? How about some experimentation sessions to explore fractals hands-on and models?
  6. Spirituality:
    • Which spiritual traditions align with Living Systems ideas? Could we map these to extract patterns and align these what science is saying?


Self-organisation was interesting to me for a long time when experimenting with personal development. But these days I look for inspiration elsewhere and everywhere.

How do self-organised organisms work? What conditions are needed? When these are better than top-down organised systems?

This is quite an important question to me as I believe that self-direction promotes construction and thus meaningful life for all.