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Getting started

With the Ukraine conflict going on we have made available for everyone the example of a very complex problem and the elaborated solution intended for the students of this Columbus project. The example problem is very similar to the current Ukraine conflict and the crisis in the world. That makes the solution based on Next Level Learning in fact a solution to the Ukraine conflict and the current crisis too.

Welcome to this Columbus project. This page is meant as a practical guide to this open learning environment. With the steps below you can get started. To read more about a certain step, see the extra information below.


Step 1) Confirm the registration for the mastery programme that you have been signed up for. You have received an e-mail with the time, date and further details. You will participate in the mastery programme as is described at step 5. On the page "Mastery in transition" you can read all about the programme.


Step 2) Create an account and log in to the Columbus Open Learning Environment (COLE), see the login button in the right upper corner of this website. The Columbus Open Learning Environment is an open learning platform where you can share your solutions, get into contact with other participants, form groups and initiate meetings.

Step 3) Do the exercises with the tool to achieve Next Level Learning. See


Step 4) Try to solve the example problem on the page "Example problem and solution" by answering the questions on the page "How". The elaborated solution to this example problem will be used as a guide to solving complex problems in the mastery programme.


Step 5) Participate in the mastery programme for which you were registered at step 1.


Step 6) With the group you worked with in the mastery programme, you can work together to solve a complex problem as described at step 8, or:


Step 7) Optional: Find other participants with whom you want to form a group to solve a complex problem. For this you can make use of the Columbus Open Learning Environment and the exploration meetings. For the Columbus Open Learning Environment see the login button (as well as step 2) and for the exploration meetings see the page "Explorations".


Step 8) Work with others in a group on a complex problem and describe the solution as answers to the questions on the page "How" and as worked out in the example problem.


Step 9) As a group, submit the solution by email addressed to Nils Beetsma at with the following details:

- The names of the participants in the group.

- The solution as a pdf attachment, A4 format

- The names and e-mail addresses of the participants at the beginning of the solution.

As participants, you remain the owner of your solution and responsible for what you write. Read more about this below.


Step 10) Optional: You can then form more groups and arrive at more solutions and use the Columbus Open Learning Environment, exploration meetings, inspiration cafe, solutions cafe and experience centre. You can also submit multiple solutions with the same group and possibly for the same complex problem. To move forward yourself and gather your own group of people around you, the live cafe is also very suitable. See page "Live café".


Steps 7 to 10 together form an open learning environment. You can continue to participate and learn with all the next level activities of the Academy for Next Level Learning and you can also create the same kind of activities in your own environment.


If you are interested, you can become a facilitator for the next level activities and the mastery programme within the Columbus Project. You can also apply for a position as facilitator and consultant for the academy.

Extra information


Extra info for step 1) If you haven’t received the welcome e-mail, get into contact with us (, we will respond and send you the e-mail again as soon as possible.


Extra info for step 7) You can for example try to find other participants living in the same place as you do, wanting to solve the same problems as you do or wanting to research the same topics as you do. To do so, you can initiate exploration meetings with a topic of your own interest so others can join. You can also get into contact with other participants or respond to each other’s solutions, interests and topics through the Columbus Open Learning Environment.


Extra info for step 8) You can use the example solution as a guide to solving complex problems. In the example solution you can see how the answers to these questions together form the solution to a complex problem.


Extra info for step 9) The submitted solutions will be gathered in a multi-media presentation as report of this project. This report will eventually be published on this website. The report and these solutions will also be made available to third parties, for example for analytical research and further (scientific) publication, see also “What happens with the results”.


As participants, you remain the owner of your solution and responsible for what you write. After publication of the report you still have all the rights to bring your solution into the world.

If you still have questions or if things are still unclear you can always send an email to

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