April 30, 2013

Kio Stark's Handbook for Learning Outside The Classroom

Paradigm shifts in the value and methods of adult education continue to be a hot topic of discussion. However, few offer practical ideas on how to transform the learning experience for aspiring professionals. Kio Stark's book on alternative higher education offers practical advice for those who may choose not to pursue a formal post-graduate degree.

Growing up in the city of Chicago, learning outside the classroom was something that came naturally to me. I took advantage of the amazing learning opportunities that living in a city allows. I created my own subjects and syllabus - that were directly related to the problems I hoped to one day solve. I discovered how to learn through experiences and not just from lectures and writing assignments.

I also realized that in the current system of education - balancing the need for accountability, structure and credibility can be difficult for those seeking to maximize creativity and innovation in their professional learning experiences.

Many of my peers are considering their options for higher education and contemplating grad school - despite increasing tuition costs and an uncertain job market. If only there were a guide to learning anything....

Kio Stark developed just that - a handbook for learning anything outside the classroom. In her book, Don’t Go Back School, she helps learners in a wide range of disciplines understand how to get the resources that school provides, but without limitations of a broken system. She encourages adult learners to create, borrow, and reinvent the best of school while maintaining economic and creative freedom.

Kio tells her incredible story - to which far too many of us can relate. She reached a point in her journey when she wanted to learn more - so she could do more. And she was willing to make the necessary investment to get there. Fresh out of college, graduate school seemed like the best option. However, after 2 years at Yale, Kio realized student learning in higher education was more about academic writing than useful experiences.

During her 3rd year, as she prepared to write her dissertation, she was granted the freedom to study and learn subjects that were exciting and relevant to her. Kio Stark was able to develop a map for learning that includes building professional networks, leveraging physical resources and creating learning communities. She interviews journalists, film makers, entrepreneurs and even scientists and proves that a creative education can be achieved by all - no matter what you hope to study or how you want to affect the world.

Her ebook, backed by Kickstarter, is available for download now.

By Tiffany Mikell

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