Action Learning

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All of the courses we offer at the Integral Permaculture Academy are Action Learning Courses.  That means that from the very first day we support you in developing your real-life designs – the projects you care about, providing you with the best of the theory (a summary of everything we’ve collectively learned so far, from much experience) in order to enable you to do so in the most intelligent, sustainable & effective way possible.  

We save a lot of money & energy by supporting you wherever you can have most impact as an agent of change: in your home, your project, your neighbourhood, etc.

And for this reason also we can provide such economical courses of such high quality content.

What is Action Learning?

It is the fundamental concept that governs how we teach.

It is the most direct way to learn to create PermaCulture, & the method is based in the work of many radical educators whom we have now compiled in our online Designers Manual > Learning.

Action learning is a more rigorous and supported form of self-directed learning: you aren’t alone in this process, it is done accompanied by a small community with this purpose, that includes very experienced tutors & activists, learning to give & receive good support, & to keep to the very high levels of integrity that are required of this science, that is so important that we don’t allow to dilute right now.

So Action Learning is …


Living in a Radically Inter-Connected Way

We could say that ‘the university of life’, in the same way as the design cycle, and of the learning cycle, has an ascending spiral shape – we need to actively do the work of each stage of the cycle in order to move up to the following level of learning, understanding & wisdom.

Native peoples (the only human cultures that approximate to living in a sustainable way, and all are – or were – ongoing experiments) are perfectly connected to their physical surroundings because they are cultures based on action-learning, which is diametrically opposed to the disconnected emphasis which characterizes our educational system.

Part our logo represents the spiral motif which is found in so many aboriginal art forms all over the planet – & represents, on one hand our respect for peoples & cultures native to our own bioregions, & on the other, the global connection between all sustainable cultures.

In order to Create a Solar Economy

These native cultures were also based in “harvesting only sunshine” (solar energy – a fundamental base & permacultural saying), that is, in the art of sustainability, or of “using what there is”, within natural limits, working with a profound knowledge of the environment & the specific local conditions, without fighting against the laws of nature, but applying a commitment to studying them and living in a relationship of with gratitude & respect towards them, and the immense richness they offer us.


It’s about Re-Learning to Play

Action Learning is basically our natural way of learning & relating to our environment – when children do it, we call it ‘playing’.

It includes a lot of fun & laughter, as well as very serious moments, some painful times, some exciting periods and also meditative and preoccupied times. And lots of experimentation.

It consists in keeping a clear interest focus (the centre of the spiral) and taking each of the little steps that need to be taken in order to put into practice these ideals (the harmonic sequence of rainbow colours/ rays), so learning in a deep way, ‘for real’.

All a cyclical processes, and if we understand the natural patterns that govern them, and something of their periodicity, we could use them with much greater effectiveness.

  • In the case of   the scientific process, the sequence (one form of active learning) consists in observation > formulating an hypothesis > prediction > experimentation > observation;
  • in the case of   permaculture design, we say that it consists of: observing > thinking / reflection > design > implement > observe again;
  • in the case of   action learning, it consists of: doing project work > observing the effects > check how the theory fits > design next steps;  
  • in the case of creativity in general, it consists of discover > dream > design > deliver

The Classes are one Part

The classes that are offered in the programme of each course only pretend to accompany one in one of the basic cycles of learning in PermaCulture: the ‘black paw’ that you can see inside the logo is to remind us that the little steps, in order to move forward the theory & continue with a real action-learning, have to be done by YOU.

But we do all that we can in order to support you in this journey, encouraging support groups and continuous contact during (and also after, if you wish) the curse with the other participants, as well as the tutors.

Action learning is characterized by active & mutual support (we also teach the tools to learn to do this in a more effective way).

And difficulties are …

simply the BIGGER STEPS

Possibly the most difficult thing about Action Learning is to re-learn to ‘do’ with our own hands, think and act logically but at the same time honoring our feelings, using our imagination all the while; letting ourselves learn with our whole body, and launching ourselves into adventure by trying totally new things.    This can be very uncomfortable for the majority of us, as comfort-seeking is possibly the strongest pattern in the Destructo-Culture – & the one that most enslaves us.  There are others.

The grayest or most painful parts are often also the greatest learning opportunities.  You have the opportunity of doing (and support others in doing) a radical learning experience: you choose in every moment how much you want to do and when, but you will be able to overcome the greatest challenges with the support and closeness of your colleagues and travel partners.

The Practice (praxis)

All that is taught during a Certificate course can be put into practice immediately in your life, in any circumstance that you find yourself (with or without access to land, with or without own home, with or without money or material resources, etc.). And it only works if it’s put into practice.  So the practicals consist in making reality in our daily life what we learn on the course.

We will do some exercises during the course in order to practice some of the techniques & tools, but the main practice that we do during the Certificate courses is design practice (as it is a design course).

During the course we realize TWO design practicals:

  1. One of a personal project (it can be simply your home, or your family, or your employment ideas or the garden of a friend) 
  2. one on a group project – and there are many we are already doing that we can invite you in, if you don’t have a local one.



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