May 04, 2022

Our Big Question

The team and I have been working on something for the past few months. And though it’s still in the “garage” we thought we’d begin sharing a few thoughts. These notes are unfinished, but here goes:


First, why do people choose to learn? What motivates someone to try something new throughout their career — to enroll in a workshop, attend a retreat, hire a coach, or embark on a new experience?

At the core, there seems to be a few driving motivations for learning throughout life:

  • To become more aware and at peace with yourself and your community (self-acceptance & connection)

  • To navigate career growth or change (approval & security)

  • To be proud of how, why, and where you work (purpose)

  • To feel a sense of care and connection (belonging)

  • To enjoy life through new and diverse experiences (joy)

In many ways, these are why education systems exist. Sure, institutions may miss the mark, but the collective, shared purpose of learning exists in some mix of these motivations. Simply put, it is to help people change for the better, and in turn to equip them to change their world for the better. In the words of Paulo Freire:

"Education does not transform the world. Education changes people. People change the world."

Our Big Question…

So we keep asking, “What if school didn’t end after college?” Or at least the best parts of it. What if we weren’t left to our own devices to find community and navigate personal and professional development?

Here are a few ideas we’re exploring about the future of a “lifelong university” that can work with both individuals and companies:

  1. Instead of focusing on careers (business school, law school, med school, etc), focus on practices — eg: Self-Awareness, Storytelling, Innovation, Leadership.

  2. Instead of multi-year degrees or semester-long classes, the barrier of entry can be lowered. There would still be clear beginnings and endings, but the priority would be to create more fluidity between work, life, and learning.

  3. Instead of courses being led by tenured professors, educators can be community members and practitioners. There could still be a process for excellent facilitation, but hierarchies aren’t necessary for effective teaching.

  4. No campuses. Classes can be virtual or local/in-person. Groups could gather in cities or workplaces to create shared experience and community.

  5. Age would not be a primary organizing factor. There may be instances when age helps to organize the group, but learning can happen alongside people of different experiences and perspectives regardless of age

Just the Beginning

We’re still fleshing things out. But for now, as you go about your day, what do you hope to learn next? Where and how are you looking to learn it? And what’s holding you back from starting?

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