Core Concepts

The creation of our learning designs is an ongoing process of continuous improvement and responding to associate feedback. There are, however, some core concepts that have emerged listed below. On the following page--Core Elements--you can then see how these core concepts have translated into actual elements of our programs.

Foundation-Setting Online Learning

Many students arrive at Gaia U excited to engage in their action-learning program. However, we have found that setting a solid foundation in our online systems, allowing a significant process of unlearning and providing an introduction to some broad concepts, offers a much better chance of success. Thus, all Gaia U programs start with a 6-month Online Orientation that is designed to lay this solid foundation. You can read in detail about the Online Orientation here.

Project Work: Design, Implementation, and Management

After the Online Orientation is complete, you will focus on your project work. This is the part of your program where you will be creating meaningful learning by actively working on your projects. This action-based approach allows you to focus on topics you are truly passionate about. You may live in your home community, another community, and/or travel freely as you seek out people and organizations that are allied to your project work. Project work is self-determined and self-directed (with significant mentorship). The only requirement is that the themes and actions of your projects are within the boundaries of the Gaia University ethics.

cross-cultural friendshipAdvising Support

Early in your program, you will be assigned a Main Advisor who will be your guide through the process of project work and documentation. Mentorship is an essential part of the Gaia U model, and your Main Advisor will serve as your mentor in terms of accountability, brainstorming ideas, suggesting resources for you to use, articulating next steps, and staying on track with your program. As you proceed with your project work, you can use periodic meetings (either in person or online) with him or her to help you better define, design, and implement your projects, as well as effectively manage and critically reflect on your work in the world.

Additional Learning Support

In addition to the regular support you will receive from your Main Advisor you will also have access other advisors within the Gaia U community (Skill-flex Advisors) as well as draw on specialist support from outside Gaia U. Seeking diversified learning experiences are an important aspect of any learning journey, and this design encourages you to do so.

spiral of handsPeer Support

Peer connection is an essential part of any learning journey. Building relationships with other associates will give you access to a wide range of support during your program. By hearing about the projects other associates are working on, you might get ideas for your own work that you hadn’t considered or even end up in project collaborations. Additionally, giving and receiving informal peer-to-peer mentorship gives you the opportunity to receive broad feedback and engage in exciting brain-storming sessions. Our recommendation is that your meet frequently with your peer guild buddies and with other members of your peer support guild to develop a strong collaborative network.

Project Documentation

The ability to effectively document your outer projects and inner processes is one of the key skills you will develop over the course of your Gaia University studies. Not only is this process of reflection and analysis beneficial to your own personal learning process, but it is also an act of service to the greater world-change community. You will submit an output packet (OP) to your ePortfolio based on the self-regulated pattern you set in your Learning Intentions and Pathway Design (OP1b). These online output packets showcase both your projects and processes. After completing each output packet, you will go through the multi-layered review process.

Review Processes

Giving and receiving feedback from your peers and your mentors as well as performing self-assessments are important skillflexes you will practice throughout your Gaia U program. After completing each output packet, you will perform a self-review to reflect on your capacity to meet your self-designed learning goals, a peer-review exchange to practice giving and receiving feedback, and finally a detailed review from your Main Advisor. You can find a detailed description of this process here.

Additional Content Offerings

During your program, you will participate in several Gaia Radio calls, which present a series of community calls and content webinars/webcasts with which you will have the opportunity to suggest topics and guest speakers. These calls allow for you to connect with your peers and participate in conversations about the various content.

If you are in a multi-year program, you will begin every ALC (except the first one) with a content workshop of your choice. This will give you the chance to dive deeper into skills and knowledge you will need to improve your projects. These may be local workshops and are selected based on your interests and in consultation with your Main Advisor. Start-of-ALC content workshops are not included in your tuition fees and are negotiated by you with the course providers.

Presenting your Work

Presenting your work allows for you to share and celebrate your accomplishments. In the middle and the end of each ALC you will have the opportunity to do a deep review of your work and practice sharing the outcomes of your learning and project work with your peers, advisors, family, and friends. These presentations are mostly done via Gaia Radio but can also be done at Gaia U Gather-In Events.