Static curriculum. Generic learning content. Strict timetables. Depersonalized classrooms. Droning lecturers. Irrelevant, theoretical assignments. Ridiculously exorbitant fees.
For most of us, modern traditional education is quite simply a pain in the ass, one that lingers for a very long time (considering the level of debt it incurs).
But education doesn’t have to be a laborious and detestable affair. And many autotelics around the world have realized this.
Today in this article, you’ll discover the wonderful world of revolutionary, rebellious and alternative forms of education. Keep reading.
9 Alternative Forms of Education
Have you educated yourself on your education options? The answer may shock you. I’d love for you to share how many of these alternatives you were aware of.
1. The UnCollege
Hacking your education.
Created by college dropout Dale J. Stephens, the UnCollege provides resources for people who desire to direct their own educational paths in the form of workshops, forums and articles. The website is based on the principles that:
- People pay too much and learn too little from College/University education.
- It’s not necessary to decide what to do for the rest of your life at the age of 18.
- You can get quality education anywhere.
- You can’t rely on Colleges/Universities to give you a complete and thorough education.
- You can contribute to society without having a course degree.
- College/University subjects are often overly-theoretical, contrived and irrelevant. They also promote conformity and mindless regurgitation of course matter.
A new world of free, certified learning.
Founded in 2007 by Irish entrepreneur Mike Feerick, ALISON (Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online) boasts 3 million learners from 200 countries who have studied ALISON’s certified courses. With over 500 courses and diplomas to select from, ALISON is proving to revolutionize the way in which many people approach education.
ALISON offers everything from Diploma’s in Environmental Science to Business Management and Educational Psychology. Read more.
3. MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)
As the name suggests, MOOCs are open, self-paced courses, with unlimited levels of participation (meaning millions of people can apply for the same course without impacting its availability). MOOC courses are also free, and are offered by some of the biggest names in education. Below is a list of Universities and Colleges that offer MOOCs.
- Carnegie Mellon
- UC Berkeley
Note that while some MOOCs come with a certificate of completion, others do not. MOOCs are also not available for academic credit, but are useful to put on your CV or resume. There are also a variety of databases that provide access to a wide selection of MOOC courses:
4. University of the People
Yes. There is a free University that exists in the world. I know, shocking! But true. Apart from the processing fees that are charged for applications and examinations (usually ranging between $10-$50 depending on your country’s economic situation), UOPeople is entirely free.
As stated on their website, University of the People is “the world’s first non-profit online university dedicated to the democratization of higher education.” UOPeople was also recently (in February, 2014) accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).
From degrees in Computer Science to Sociology and Philosophy, you may want to check this site out.
5. Anarchistic Free Schools
Quite frankly I never expected the word “anarchism” to go alongside the word “school”, but there you go. There is such a thing as an anarchistic school in the world, and as you would expect there is no cost, no hierarchy and no institutionalized environment. Rather, information is shared in an open structure that encourages self-reliance, personal development, critical consciousness and free speech.
Anarchistic schools in the world include for instance:
- London Free School
- Corvid College (MA)
- West Marin (CA)
- Baltimore Free School (MD)
- New Haven Free Skool (CT)
- FSU Centre for Participant Education (FL)
Alternative Schools and Universities
6. The Tailor-Made College
Go beyond majors, classes, and grades and experience your education the way you IMAGINE. ~ Home page
The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington boasts of no grades (giving narrative evaluations instead), no unrelated topics (delivers interconnected and real-word relateable topics instead), and tailor-made degrees that suit your own personal needs.
In essence, Evergreen gives you the freedom to design your own academic statement and area of emphasis. This most certainly seems to beat the pre-packaged, generic crap you get in other colleges. Read more here.
7. The Introvert School
Instruction is offered in a welcoming, safe, respectful and nurturing environment. ~ Mission and Philosophy page
Dartmoor, an American private school catering to years 1 to 12, offers a unique model of education. Rather than flocking students into one big classroom and teaching them all the exact same content at the same levels, Dartmoor teachers offer one-to-one learning, rather than complying with the traditional authoritarian classroom models. Education is also provided at the student’s intellectual level, and learning style. Pique your interest? Read more about Dartmoor.
8. The Democratic School
Students are given the freedom to use their time as they wish, and the responsibility for designing their path to adulthood. ~ About Page
No curriculum? Freedom to do whatever you want? If I had heard this as a child I would’ve thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Founded in 1968, Sudbury Valley School caters to children from pre-school all the way to high-school.
In this school, students are not only given an equal vote and say in the management of the school, but they are also given a say in the Judicial system. Sudbury Valley School values the opinions of students and teachers equally.
9. The Spiritual College
Higher Education For Higher Consciousness. ~ Motto
Ananda College of Living Wisdom is a very unique college indeed. It offers:
- An Inner Discovery program. This is a self-tailored program, and can include yoga, meditation, journaling or other means of finding your inner truth – for academic credit.
- A Service Learning component. There is also an option of choosing a way of serving the community for academic credit. Possibilities could include contributing to sustainability projects, assisting disabled people, caring for animals, helping with community projects, and so forth.
- Personalised learning. Ananda College does not favour static curriculum. Rather, you design your own education.
Curious? I bet you are! Read more about Ananda College here.
Have you participated in any alternative forms of education? Have any recommendations to share? Spread the word below!