SOLE Central



Below you will find a list of publications written by SOLE Central staff.


Learning at the Edge of Chaos - Self Organising Systems in Education

This book chapter takes stock of the evolution of the current primary education model. It looks at the potential afforded by current technology and its effects on children. It reports results of experiments with self-organising systems in primary education. It introduces the concept of a SOLE. It describes how SOLEs operate and discusses implications of the physics of complex systems. It looks at their possible connection with self-organised learning among children. The implications for certification and qualifications in an internet-immersive world are also discussed.

Citation: Mitra S, Kulkarni S, Stanfield J. Learning at the Edge of Chaos—Self-Organising Systems in Education. In: Lees, H. ed. The Palgrave International Handbook of Alternative Education.  Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp. 227-239.

What happens if students are asked to learn Geography content, specifically population, through SOLE?

This paper by Sally Rix and Stephan McElwee appears in The Journal of Educational Alternatives. It describes the potential of SOLEs to increase engagement and learning in a low achievement cohort of Year 8 pupils in a secondary school in England. This paper discusses the strengths and limitations of SOLE in this context. It describes improvements in learning generated by effective peer support from sixth form mediators.

Citation: Rix, S, McElwee, S. What happens if students are asked to learn geography content, specifically population, through SOLE? Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives 2016, Vol. 5, No. 1, 30-54.

SOLE Meets MOOC: Designing infrastructure for online self-organised learning with a social mission

This paper was presented at the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems. It is by Hanna Celina, Ahmed Kharrufa, Anne Preston, Robert Comber and Patrick Olivier. The authors present design, deployment and evaluation of three configurations of an online learning activity. This is for would-be social innovators and activists. It is to understand the factors critical to design of an infrastructure to support communities of learners. This research was inspired and motivated by the example of SOLEs. It builds upon the experiences of early connectivists MOOCs (massive open online courses). The primary design goals were to enable activist empowerment, self-organised learning, and the creation of social bonds to facilitate a lasting and self-sufficient international activist community. 

Citation: Celina H, Kharrufa A, Preston A, Comber R, Olivier P. SOLE meets MOOC: designing infrastructure for online self-organised learning with a social mission. In: DIS 2016. 2016, Brisbane, Australia.


From Hole in the Wall to School in the Cloud (chapter in Handbook of International Development and Education)

In this book chapter, Sugata Mitra presents an engaging and accessible history of the SOLE methodology. This chapter discusses the key ideas at the heart of SOLEs. These include minimally invasive education, the role of technology in the modern world and issues of quality education in remote areas. The chapter goes on to trace the evolution of Mitra's research. This starts from the first Hole in the Wall experiments, through to eMediators, the Granny Cloud, arriving at the SOLE method at work today and looking to the future challenges and innovations.

Citation: Mitra S. From Hole in the Wall to School in the Cloud. In: Dixon P, Humble S, Counihan C (ed.), 2015. Handbook of International Development and Education. Pp. 368-376


Riding tandem: An organic and collaborative approach to research in vocational education and training

This explored use of the Internet in peer-to-peer learning environments within vocational education and training. It investigates whether this approach could replace traditional teaching and learning. Cathy Ellis, Alec Dyer and Dominic Thompson, outline the process, results and reflections. They conducted SOLE research within a vocational further education context.

Citation: Ellis C, Dyer A, Thompson D. Riding tandem: an organic and collaborative approach to research in vocational education and training. Research in Learning Technology 2014, 22: 24614.

The future of schooling: Children and learning at the edge of chaos

This paper describes the effect that assistive technologies, including the Internet, have on pedagogy. It reports the results of experiments with SOLEs within primary education. It describes their possible effects on primary education in remote areas. Within this article, Sugata Mitra discusses the self-organising system as a technical term in mathematics and physics. He describes how this concept can be applied to the self-organised learning among children. Finally, this article looks to the future. It proposes a change in the examination system. This may incorporate self-organised learning and the internet into our school systems.

Citation: Mitra S. The future of schooling: children and learning at the edge of chaos. Prospects 2014, 44(4), 547-558.

Effectiveness of Self-Organised Learning by Children: Gateshead Experiments

This paper, by Sugata Mitra and Emma Crawley, details findings from the first SOLE experiments in UK classrooms. These experiments took place from 2009 to 2011 in an urban primary school in North East England. Highlights include presenting a Year 4 class with GCSE physics and biology questions. They then face A-Level questions on molecular structures, radiation and geography. This paper also discusses changes to student's reading comprehension levels and information retention.

Citation: Mitra S, Crawley E. Effectiveness of Self-Organised Learning by Children: Gateshead Experiments. Journal of Education and Human Development 2014, 3(3), 79-88.


Self-Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs) in an English School: an example of transformative pedagogy?

This paper considers the theoretical contexts and challenges of SOLEs within schools. It discusses issues of innovation and transformation informed by the ideas of Bernstein, Engestrom and Girioux. This analysis features detailed feedback from teachers involved in the Gateshead Experiments. It argues that the SOLE concept has the potential to offer a divergent, radical transformative pedagogy. But it also argues that transformative pedagogy can be effectively positioned alongside, rather than in conflict with, the dominant educational framework. 

Citation: Dolan P, Leat D, Mazzoli Smith L, Mitra S, Todd L, Wall K. Self-Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs) in an English School: an example of transformative pedagogy? Online Educational Research Journal 2013, 1-19.


Beyond the Hole in the Wall – Discover the Power of Self Organised Learning

This digestible eBook by Sugata Mitra is published by TED as part of their series of small books on big ideas. It is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in self-organised learning. It offers a comprehensive discussion of the main ideas behind SOLE. It elaborates on how to integrate the method into any classroom. For more information, see: New TED Book asks: can changing how we teach make our kids smarter, more creative?

Citation: Mitra S. Beyond the Hole in the Wall: Discover the power of self-organised learning. New York: TED Books, 2012.

Children and the Internet – A Preliminary Study in Uruguay

This paper reports the results of experiments carried out in schools across Montevideo, Uruguay. These experiments were led by Sugata Mitra and Mabel Quiroga (now leading SOLE Argentina). They investigated the effects of laptop access on children's ability to read, understand, search and analyse information. The children worked in groups using the internet to answer 'deep questions'. This research informed the concept of the School in the Cloud 'Big Questions' as part of the SOLE method.

Citation: Mitra S, Quiroga M. Children and the Internet - A preliminary study in Uruguay. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science 2012, 2(15), 123-129.

Hole in the Wall

Limits to self organising systems of learning : the Kalikuppam experiment

Citation: Mitra S, Dangwal R. Limits to Self-Organising Systems of Learning - the Kalikuppam Experiment. British Journal of Educational Technology2010, 41(5), 671-688.

The Hole in the Wall: Self-Organising Systems in Education

Citation: Mitra S. The Hole in the Wall: Self-Organising Systems in Education. New Delhi & New York: Tata-McGraw-Hill Pub. Co. Ltd, 2006.

Acquisition of computing literacy on shared public computers: Children and the ‘Hole in the Wall’

Citation: Mitra S, Dangwal R, Chatterjee S, Jha S, Bisht R, Kapur P. Acquisition of Computing Literacy on Shared Public Computers: Children and the "Hole in the Wall". Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 2005, 21(3), 407-426.

Self Organising Systems for Mass Computer Literacy: Findings from the 'Hole in the Wall' Experiments

Citation: Mitra S. Self organising systems for mass computer literacy: Findings from the 'hole in the wall' experiments. International Journal of Development Issues 2005 4(1), 71-81.

A model of how children acquire computing skills from “Hole in the Wall” computers in public places

Citation: Dangwal R, Jha S, Chatterjee S, Mitra S. A model of how children acquire computing skills from "hole in the wall" computers in public places. Information Technologies and International Development 2005 2(4), 41-60.

Children and the Internet: Experiments with minimally invasive education in India

Citation: Mitra S, Rana V. Children and the Internet: Experiments with minimally invasive education in India. British Journal of Educational Technology2001, 32(2), 221-232.