Recently from self-directed.org I got to know Marco Masi and his project Free Progress Education (FPE).
ASDE (Alliance for Self-Directed Education) has intentionally used “Self-Directed Education” (SDE) to unify unschooling and democratic or free schools together as they share common practices and believes that can be summarized as Self-Directed Education. I feel Marco has keenly observed that unschooling and democratic or free schools only apply to children and many parents from these communities still view colleges/universities as the legitimate places (also the only places to go) for their children’s future learning. However, the way people learn in colleges/universities are not fundamentally different from that of compulsory schooling for the primary, secondary, middle and high schools. So I think Marco is right in seeing this with a more general picture and framing it as a pedagogic issue and calling for new pedagogic frameworks. I think he has listed a few things that are essential to such a framework. In addition to self-directed education, he also pointed out learning should come from intrinsic needs instead of from outer needs, also he recognized the needs of physical infrastructure (which I think of things like learning centers).
So I think he is very right in calling for a more general pedagogic framework, which is centered around self-directed education with its common practices and believes. We should not separate children and adults and think education is only for children or make it seemly so. It is as important to change adults’ concepts of learning as to change child education. I also think maybe the breakthrough or the long expected “tipping point” can come earlier if we focus on adult learning first.
So I think Marco has framed the right question. Do we really need an alternative pedagogic framework that is fundamentally different from the current one in the mainstream education system? Is self-directed education the right one? In addition to the current well-know common practices and believes in self-directed education, what else can we add, such as physical infrastructure or even software infrastructure? I think the content and practices of such a framework need to be enriched and be built upon. These question are what we need at this moment. It goes beyond the Self-Directed Education, which is only for children, and asks for a more general approach that also applies to high schools, colleges, university and research centers, as adult education in general.
I share with Marco the same belief that physical infrastructure such as learning centers are needed, at least for helping people cultivating self-learning skills. (Self-learning has long been my goal since the first day of Open Source Learning and even long before that. “We are all self-learners! Make self-learning easier!” To support ASDE, I started to use more “self-directed education”.) Other things that I share with him include the belief that the change will not come from within of the established present institutions.
If you are interested, you can read more from his book entitled “Free Progress Education”: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1539673081
And according to Marco, he is planning a Free Progress University (FPU) oriented at building a theoretical physics faculty.