Action Learning and Project Work

“Knowledge without wisdom is a pile of books on the back of an ass” (Japanese proverb). And wisdom, we believe here at Gaia University, comes from a combination of hands-on engagement with people and projects in all their messy realities, inspired mentoring from fellow actionists, deep self-reflection, and critical thinking. This combination of interpenetrating catalysts for learning and growth is rarely found in the conventional Academy and is usually deferred for 'real life', something that comes later.

construction projectWhile this deferred-life model may suit stable cultures with time on their hands and a tendency to extend infantilization to young adulthood it is inappropriate, even dangerous, for living on planet Eaarth.

What's needed now, to cope with the long emergency and to enable broad-scale transitions to ecosocially regenerative cultures, is a super flexible, purposeful, action-based approach to learning and unlearning that draws on progressive ideas such as learning by experience, transformative learning, just-in-time learning, learning through discourse with others in similar boats, emergent curriculum, reflexive documentation, critical thinking and more.

At Gaia University, we call this process action learning and we think of it as a double-loop process that often includes a deep diving 'U' of self-transformation. Using our own, extensive experience as action learners we mentor, advise and support you to work with this eclectic wisdom-generating process as it challenges you to do thoughtful, informed, purposeful work in the world.

coco gardeningIn Gaia University, you get to choose and design your projects – real projects in real communities – and we support you to be effective, furnish you with valuable lessons, and help you build your skill-flexes. We help you stay alert to the intended and unintended opportunities for learning and unlearning arising from your project work, as you proceed with zestful intention, documenting the entire process.

Through the unique blend of action and learning, you get to transform the world as you transform yourself. You can mix earning and learning so that your work is your learning studio rather than just a means to make ends meet. Also, with careful design, you can avoid the all-too-common and compromising higher education debt trap.

With Gaia University, you learn to take charge of your own learning and to value your own intelligences and judgment. Action learning is a life-changing learning strategy that brings you into your own power and a life-long investment in yourself and the viable future of human cultures.