This is a really interesting concept. I am a self-directed learner myself and have often been frustrated by teachers that did not allow for me to customize my experience. As an educator, I’m always asking how to best design learning environments that spark creativity and curiosity for students to take ownership of their own learning. This is also a BIG questions for teachers in K-12 instruction teaching large classes with gifted and talented students who want to progress beyond the scope of regular instruction.

That being said, there are some questions that come up for me around the ideas you’ve shared:

  • Where would the learning take place? Is it in a classroom? Online? In a space like a museum or outdoors? That would impact the resources you’d need to provide to “scaffold” or support learning.
  • How would interaction take place? I like the idea that we learn best through dialoguing and collaborating with others. But some learners learn best face-to-face, online, or via technology.
  • One concern I’d have with a totally student-driven experience is that we all have strengths and challenges. It’s human nature to do what we like and are naturally good at. (We often like what we’re good at!) This can be problematic when we need to push ourselves to overcome learning challenges or mental barriers (e.g. “I don’t like reading non-fiction.” or “I am ‘not good at math’”) Students will actively avoid learning content and skills that they might otherwise try if they were in a more structured learning environment. How will the learning experiences you’re interested in designing encourage users who are not predisposed to learning those content areas to try it out?
  • How will you provide feedback on meeting learning outcomes? Almost every student I’ve ever taught writing to has thought their writing was good enough with one shot. It’s only by giving them multiple opportunities to get feedback that I’ve seen real growth in student work. What are easy real-time ways for students to demonstrate new learning and get feedback on the quality of their work?

Thanks again for sharing these ideas. I’m looking forward to seeing how your ideas progress.

mom of twins. education nerd. public school warrior. reformed cat-lady. amateur urbanist. social justice addict. BLERD. & most recently Board of Ed Commissioner

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