Lifelong Learning

age diversityOne core aspect of the Gaia University mission is to facilitate the development of floods of lifelong learners working for ecosocial regeneration. Our rationale is that ecosocial regeneration needs all hands to the pumps as never before. By this we mean that 'banking' concepts of education in which a learner is thoroughly drilled by expert teachers in advance and away from the distractions and complex reality of the 'real world', is of limited value given our current situation. Instead, actors in the field, throughout their lives, need to seek out learning experiences that have personal relevance, and conduct original research that informs action and generates fresh, new thinking as they engage with real life-- people, places and problems on the ground. This model can be described as constructivist.

Learning like this runs contrary to most traditional higher education models which still insist on having learners follow predetermined curricula in an experiential vacuum in supposed preparation for a life of action that will follow. Lifelong learning is often considered inferior and suited only to informal learning, often without quality assurance. This prejudice should come as no surprise as we have hundreds of years and billions of dollars invested in banking-style education and it is hard to create paradigm shifts in such an embedded system.

age diversityAt Gaia University we have the flexibility to stand the formal/informal, banking/constructivist ranking on its head and confer the highest value on contextually derived learning acquired by project-focused, lifelong learners. We appreciate that learning like this takes courage, persistence and unusual amounts of flexibility and is designed to help you excel.

In our experience, lifelong learning has an episodic pattern: a learner spends desk and inquiry time surveying the field for information, knowledge, and wisdom as they ready themselves to commence a project whilst taking care to avoid inaction through over-preparation ("paralysis by analysis"). Once the project is underway, the learner journals and otherwise documents progress and reflections, and uses a variety of resources to engage in just-in-time learning to handle issues that emerge. When the learner has a sense of completion around the project, a period of deeper reflection and summarizing documentation takes place in order to make a rounded ending to the episode. This ending phase is especially ideal work for a person to use as the basis for their Gaia University program.