An extreme learner is a trailblazer of the new learning landscape. For them, it’s not about an exam score or degree—the process is the product.
Extreme learners are powered by technology. They harness a fast-expanding world of knowledge that is increasingly at their fingertips. They know that learning now can be done anywhere at anytime.
Extreme learners are renegades who take charge of their own education. They apply novel feedback mechanisms and optimize their learning experiences. They have learned how to learn. And you can, too.
Extreme learners defy traditional definitions of teacher and student. They design their own curricula from online courses, get their hands dirty at community laboratories and hackerspaces, and seek out mentors. They help others learn, participating in an active learning exchange. They are teachers as much as they are learners.
That’s why the Institute for the Future initiated a project to examine the stories of extreme learners, to gain insight into their motivations, challenges, methodologies, and secrets to success. We created this site to share their experiences and to expand our knowledge by collecting stories from extreme learners of all ages and types. We also want this website to be a resource for you in your learning journey.
Here are stories of extreme learners. Whether they are building an LED dining room table, spending the school day in an anti-aging research lab, or seeking out mentors from around the world, they’re charting their own learning paths. We hope these stories inspire you to become an extreme learner and share your story with us!
Student, Johns Hopkins University
Student, Pitzer College
Activist & Author, One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School
Student, UC Berkeley
We want to hear your story, to learn about your motivation, challenges, methodologies, and secrets to your success. Share a link to a blog post, article, video, or website that tells your story. We’ll help share your story and highlight some of the most game-changing extreme learners on this site. Extreme learners of all ages and types encouraged.
Create a YouTube video or write your own blog post about how you’re taking charge of your education.
The Extreme Learners project is part of the Institute for the Future (IFTF) Future of Learning initiative, dedicated to re-imagining the future of education in light of technology, demographic, and global changes and challenges. Explore these resources to learn more about what we imagine for the future of learning.
A combination of drivers is breaking learning—and education overall—out of traditional institutional environments and embedding it in everyday settings and interactions. The IFTF From Educational Institutions to Learning Flows map is a synthesis of key components of the emerging learning ecology. Based on our forecasting methodologies such as expert workshops, interviews, and signals analysis, this map will help you imagine the future stories that will shape the world of learning in the coming decade. Whether you’re an educator, policy maker, or student, we encourage you to download, print, and share this map.
What factors are contributing to this changing learning ecology, and how can individuals grasp their own potential? Milton Chen, one of IFTF’s six 2013 Future for Good Fellows, is working with us to identify opportunities for the future of learning. His Future for Good project, The Future of Learning and The Power of YOU, looked at how we can empower learners to put the “you” back into education. Watch a short introduction to Milton and read more about his project on our website.
Download [PDF] the learning map today!
IFTF is based in Silicon Valley, in a community at the crossroads of technological innovation, social experimentation, and global interchange. We are committed to building a better future with more systematic, rigorous, and thoughtful consideration of emergent possibilities. Our Future of Learning program brings IFTF’s 45-year forecasting experience to research the new ways in which we will learn in the future. Check our website for more information about the program.