Training course description

Holistic learning in adult education

Learning to act with systems holistic awareness

This course offers tools, frameworks and practical skills to increase the ability to adapt effectively in changing times and builds capacity for leadership and collaboration from the perspective of ecosystem holistic awareness.

Holistic learning and ecosystem awareness is a continuous process of:

We will focus on

Contextual background

Many sectors, including social movements and organising, focus on collecting data to gain information about a topic. Data might be quantitative : number of people at an action; how many refugees entered Spain in 2021, or qualitative: an increased sense of togetherness; a feeling of collective rejection. However, the feedback loop of ‘better data’ leading to ‘better social action' is often weak or non-existent. This is due to lack of capacity for joined-up thinking or quality relationships between actors in the system. This means that potentially threatening or non-conforming ‘data’ is ignored or discarded, or people recognise the data, but still do little to change their actions. This is true around many 'hot topics' such as race and inequality, resource use, consumerism and climate chaos. We have enough high quality data - it is that we don’t have the capacity for joined-up thinking or relationships. In effect, the typical low quality of relational space (in a meeting or between social moments) diminishes the ability to 'process' (recognise, collaboratively probe and ultimately act on) non-conforming data. So rather than simply collecting more data and assuming that data will bring about change, we focus on the basic growth loop so that better data can lead to more effective collective action. Without practical ways of initiating and sustaining self-reinforcing processes that improve the overall relational space, better data will achieve little: when difficult problems arise, they will be neglected or dealt with only superficially.

The deep capacity and community building that drives the basic growth cycle never ends. This learning continues to unfold as new stakeholders are engaged, and new concerns are faced. As this develops, peer learning relationships become more important, both within the community and between the community and others doing similar work. Cultivating the internal and external forces that make the process resilient is central to our long-term vision and awareness of systems change.

Key areas of study and reflection include

Specific objectives


The methodology adopted is participatory and experiential and includes individual and group work, simulations and role-playing, reflection on theoretical material, embodiment practices, group exchange, projection of audiovisuals, theory class, personal production. The use of feedback will also allow participants to acquire greater awareness of their own path in relation to the skills covered.

This course is specifically designed for:

Organisational development for adult education institutions

Building social change organisations for resilience and impact.

In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in agile and decentralised approaches to self-organising structures. Drawing on systems thinking and complexity, information theory, and notions of agility and innovation, these approaches have revolutionised practice in traditional organisations from public sector institutions to corporations and businesses. Are those of us working for social change actually falling behind? What can we learn from these approaches that can be harnessed to the values we want to embody? How can we better design our organisations for resilience, agility, and impact?

Organisations are the result of individuals and groups coming together to learn, act and have an influence towards social, economic and environmental justice. When these structures work well they multiply our influence, they channel energy, and they promote creative and innovative action. Yet organisations face numerous challenges from sustaining themselves financially, to dedicating time to reflection and learning, and to managing diverse points of view and skills.

Many grassroots organisations reject hierarchies in favour of flat structures and systems, but can suffer a loss of responsiveness, continuity and scope for innovation.

New approaches to organisations can help solve those problems. Others theorise about swarming and the power of nonlinear dynamics, but often fail to apply them beyond critical moments of spontaneity. The right balance of structure can enable agility and spontaneity, whilst supporting longer term purpose. More traditionally hierarchical organisations often seek to benefit from adopting new self-management methods (like those explored in Frederick Laloux’s Reinventing Organisations), but too often applying these approaches merely mask the old hierarchies. This training will explore these kinds of challenges, give you an overview of the field, and build your confidence and reflective practice to find evolving forms of organizing that are agile, resilient, effective and able to embody their values.

Many organisations rely and thrive from successful collaborations or partnerships, and social networks and social media are supporting even greater connectivity between organisations. We will look at how to build valuable and empowering connections between organisations – to create supportive and beneficial relationships. These connections form an important part of strategies for resilience when societal, economic and environmental challenges are becoming increasingly evident.

This course aims to explore some of the key elements that underpin organisational effectiveness and resilience including:

The course will explore questions such as:

Who is it for?

Radically thinking as a species: diversity and power within learning

Diversity, power and participation in migrant solidarity work

How do we bring more equity into our movements to acknowledge our vastly different starting points? How do we decolonize our thinking, actions and organising? How do we create spaces in political and social participation to ask ‘whose reality counts?’ 

“All that you touch You Change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change.” ― Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower

In the field of racial justice and migrant solidarity work we find ourselves working within deep, historical and intersecting social constructions such as race, gender, class, culture, sexual orientation, legal status. Systems of oppression, particularly in this course we focus on colonial and racial oppression, are underpinned by conscious and unconscious perceptions of the 'other' that depend on these collectively created social constructions. 

In grassroots migrant solidarity work we aim to co-create intercultural spaces and move beyond the 'us and them' of traditional NGO and state responses, but despite our intentions we sometimes recreate old power dynamics, unequal forms of participation, conflict and the bitter taste of repeating the same old relationships.

This course proposes to take a few steps back and look at the emergence of these social constructions. The course guides us in learning to notice, identify and reflect on the construction of social constructions, and then to think about and imagine the creation of new ways of understanding each other.  Changing the way we relate to others could affect the constructions of "you" and "I". In the words of Patricia Shaw, "I cannot continue to be the same 'I' without continuing to relate to 'you' in a certain way, and when that way shifts, we are both a little different" (Shaw, 2002).

This course is for people who have migrated, for people who have connections to migration in their own history, and for people working in social justice and migrant solidarity work. People who are campaigning and/or working for policy change.

Key elements

Understanding power and privilege, our own and that of others. We will explore the co-evolving dynamics of colonialism/decolonialism. Raising awareness of the construction of "worldviews" and cultural relativism. Learn theory and practical tools from the fields of race and restorative justice. 


This course is a construction site! A place of exploration and practice. A space to share, to question, to destroy, to prototype, to discuss together, to get to the heart of the conflicts of power relations in our wounded past, to overcome them and to propose new ways of relating and working.

It is a course with an open quality, an exploratory, creative space. We will invite people to lead sessions and share their views and challenges in arriving and making a life in host countries. We will explore the new labels that create the identities they find themselves in, such as migrant, undocumented, refugee... and the identities formed in relation: community worker, migrant solidarity activist, social worker.

Methodologies: Some things we will do and explore

Sustainable economics in community education


This course aims to strengthen the economic literacy of grassroots actors across Europe in order to develop a deeper understanding of the alternative economy, the mental models that sustain it, the tools and practices that enable it, and how this can be harnessed and used to create economic sustainability for social movements in Europe. The course will navigate from a deeper understanding of our current mainstream economic system to a more human, collaborative and critical economy.

Key learning blocks

While knowledge of how capitalism works is widespread, there is a is widespread, there is a general tendency to accept the current economic model as the only way of producing, managing and delivering in the world. Therefore, the search for a way of doing business, beyond growth-oriented capitalism, in order to create the different to create the different history in which we want to act. This course aims to fill the knowledge gap through a historical and systematic analysis of the system. We will what we mean by Alternative Economics (AE), what mental models underlie it, what kind of models, what kind of AE currently exists, how we can become real actors in this become real actors in this context and what tools are available.

The course revolves around this question: How can we create resilience within our movements and through our networks so that activism becomes sustainable and can be sustained over time?  We will start by exploring this question by creating a space to reflect, discuss and analyse together the challenges facing the challenges that social movements face in terms of sustainability. Using systems thinking to explore the root causes and their complexity. The reflection will serve as a basis for prototyping new ideas for their particular contexts. We will then present concrete case studies to explore viable alternatives. 

The vision of the course is to be a practical collaborative laboratory where participants explore alternative economic tools that can be brought into dialogue with their concrete situations, creating space for the emergence of prototypical solutions. The framework of the course is action research. We use theory and case studies to stimulate collective reflection and tools to put potential solutions into action.

We will see

In this course we will

Approaches and Methods

Through participatory, reflective and experiential practices we will enable deep personal and collective learning. The use of case studies and applied group work will complement reflection with tools for action. Action research will be one of our main along with Complex Living Systems Theory, Social Theatre, Design Thinking and Gaming.

Leadership and emotional intelligence for educators

Conflict transformation for trainers

Tailor-made mobility projects in Florence

If you're looking for real-life learning/work experience in a particular area, but can't find it in our listings, we'll work with you to create a tailor-made programme to suit your needs.

The ParamitaLab programmes takes place in the beautiful city of Florence. In addition to your learning experience, you will also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in some culture by exploring Florence through various cultural activities and group excursions.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to broaden your horizons and develop your skills. Be part of an international exchange of professionals who share a passion for adult learning!

Contact us at for more information on the project

POC: Luna Villalba | Phone/Telegram/Whatsapp +39 334 206 6723