The Individual Learning Path Framework
At Open Space Education, students have the opportunity to create a curriculum that reflects their own interests and talents. With the help of their personal Learning Advisor, students will outline a path that works for their own life goals, whether that be attending college, going on to a trade, starting their own business, or any number of other avenues that they might choose to create. With the Open Space framework, students can study whatever they want, wherever they want, and however they choose.
While a self-designed curriculum offers great liberty for each individual, this framework also has numerous checks and balances to ensure that students are following their path. Deadlines, advisor feedback and a self-publishing of projects to the student project database keep students motivated, engaged and focused. Whatever the student’s path may be, advisors help guide them through the process of receiving a well-rounded education that will prepare them for their future- a future of their own choosing.
The Learning Journey Framework
The Learning Journey Framework is the Framework that defines each individual project. While the Learning Path (described above) is the overall big picture plan for each student, the Learning Journey then represents small snapshots or steps along that path. Each Learning Journey is planned by each student in order to learn a particular skill or research a particular topic and culminates in some sort of project. The Learning Journey teaches students to develop methods of inquiry, to vet resources and perform various methods of research and to deliver academic and creative outputs. Students actively define and name their own individual area(s) of inquiry and learning goals. Students also choose their own resources and methods for learning. Students in the program can thus draw upon their own experiences from previous formal studies, work-related experiences, or personal research and study; in this way, knowledge is constructed by each student, not spoon-fed from a textbook. We encourage students to seek sources that they find appealing and that speak directly to them. As students complete projects for their portfolio and begin to build a body of work; their unique interests and talents speak for themselves. Portfolio-based learning allows progress to be viewed at a glance and students gain motivation from seeing their work published in their portfolios.
The Action Learning Team Framework
Once per week students will meet with their advisor and their advising group to engage in Action Learning. Each advising group or Action Learning Team chooses an inquiry question that relates to an issue of social or ecological justice, engage in research regarding the issue, come up with viable solutions, and actively strive to implement these solutions through civic engagement. The groups can choose to meet more often to discuss, plan and work through their chosen project. Advisors help facilitate each team of students through these long term expeditionary learning projects through helping to vet resources, plan and chaperone field studies, and to network with community members and officials as required by the projects.