Issue 25

December 8, 2016

In this issue, explore what open-walled learning looks like in a virtual space, our new series featuring "ah-ha" moments, and more!

Bernard Bull

When it comes to the design of effective learning experiences, one provocative question is worth a hundred proclamations.

Dear Pioneers,

Since our last issue, we hosted our final two meetings of the year. The first explored the potential of hosting a nationwide gathering of learner-centered pioneers, and the second sought to elevate the challenges and opportunities of increasing the number of educators prepared to work in learner-centered environments.

In every meeting we have hosted this year, we have been continuously reminded of the power in bringing learner-centered people together. There is no question that conversations among people in a common paradigm are able to progress more quickly and go deeper than conversations across paradigms.

Regardless of who we bring together, our approach has always been to fill the room with people operating in a common, learner-centered paradigm to allow for deep exploration on topics of common interest. We find it important to have people build a shared sense of alignment in the room before beginning the creation process. To do so, we begin each meeting by building connection at a personal level, so we can reach beyond people’s titles and hear what people are committed to. We then create shared reference points from the lived experiences of practitioners and learners. This foundation allows the group to really dig into the subject at hand. It can sometimes feel slow to start, but the conversations always reach a depth that leaves our community hungry for more.

Overall, our goal is to illuminate the field of learner-centered education so that the people in it can see each other regardless of the barriers between them. As each light bulb goes off, we are encouraged by the shared understanding that no amount of improving the current system will lead to all kids having a great education, only transformation will. Despite stakeholders having this “ah-ha” moment, old divides and lack of common language often prevent them from seeing each other as one in the same when it comes to their learner-centered practice.

We are thrilled to see so many leaders experimenting in bringing learner-centered environments and ecosystems to their communities. And now, we want them to clearly see each other as partners in bringing their shared learner-centered visions to life.

Warm Wishes,

Kelly Young

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New resources and news on The Big Idea!


We recently announced a new R&D acceleration initiative to connect and support local communities ready to bring public, equitable, learner-centered ecosystems to life.