On Designing Your Own Education
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On Designing Your Own Education

Develop a love of learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow. ~ Anthony J. D’Angelo

Learning is like eating a delectable box of chocolates with two flavors: One is enjoyment of the actual process of taking in new information. The other is a growing toolbox of skills to aid in the pursuit of your dreams.

Most people see and acknowledge the benefits of being a lifelong learner, but they allow life to get in the way of that third language, that teaching certification, that mountain climb.

designing your own education

Then there are the motivated.

Then there are those people who take matters into their own hands and make growth their responsibility. They determine what they want to learn and set a framework for how to learn it. It is a matter of replacing unproductive habits with productive ones:  The statistic often cited is that it takes a minimum of 21 days to do so. They form habits to integrate learning into their lives every day. By working small bite-sized pieces of information into their busy schedules, they slowly work towards their goals.

If you’re a student or a working professional that doesn’t yet have the skills for your dream life/career, or you simply want to expand the mind, you may have also tried to designing your own education. Any education has to have a great curriculum and a great way of implementing it. If the curriculum is the clay, the program is the sculptor: Together they activate and produce a work of art.

Then there are the challenges.

HOW you do it, though, this is where people go wrong. Implementation falls far short of expectation simply because lack of time and resources makes it difficult to form these positive habits. And of course it is very hard to keep your discipline levels up when you are up against these roadblocks.

designing your own education

What challenges you might come up designing your own education alone?

  1. Lack of reflection: Is this really what I need? Is this serving my long-term goal the best, or are there better options for me? How could I improve my way of working?
  2. Lack of educational material in a format that fits to your unique learning style;
  3. Lack of a social support network (people on the same journey as you);
  4. Lack of exposure to things outside of your bubble of preferences;
  5. Lack of subject matter experts to answer all of your content questions;
  6. Lack of mentors & coaches guiding you & pushing you to the next level;
  7. Lack of time to design the framework of your learning;
  8. Lack of time to actually learn (fitting a half-hour of learning here & there rarely lasts long);
  9. Lack of resources & space to try things out;
  10. Lack of motivation because you’re in an uphill battle without these resources!

There are the exceptions.

It should be noted that some people are perfectly suited to doing it alone. They thrive setting up the perfect learning system purely by themselves and are able to make it a sustainable, ongoing process. If you were able to do this, we want to hear about your success!

The solution at hand

For many of us, however, we do face these challenges and are at a loss of what to do. The solution must be a balance between a rigid program (in which everything is pre-determined for you: what to learn, how to learn it; what resources to use), and a loose program (in which nothing actually gets done because there’s no structure, resources, or motivation).

The best of both worlds?

For this, we use the 6-month program – It’s flexible enough to be adapted to serve your needs, with a strong enough framework in place that you feel safe to turn your complete focus to your learning. There are many rich things here which you can’t get from taking a bunch of online classes or self-studying a textbook. But there are things also shared with these methods of self-directed learning.

designing your own education

First of all, what do they share?

  • You determine your curriculum & schedule (at Knowmads, it’s within a loose given framework)

And how are they completely different?


  • The schedule of being on-site takes care of the need to build learning habits into your schedule
  • At Knowmads you share the decision of what to learn and the framework with a team, or Tribe – You might end up getting topics you wouldn’t normally have picked
  • A community of people going through the same learning journey as you
  • A personal coach supports you, challenges you, and helps you make sense of your individual learning journey
  • Learn from subject matter experts who can optimize the information to fit your learning style and answer your questions in a face-to-face, hands-on way
  • 24-hour access to a space for experimentation; to actually implement your ideas
  • Access to a global network of trainers, professionals, and alumni
  • Teamwork: “Getting your way” not always guaranteed.


  • Depend on your own habits and discipline for the execution of your program
  • Can be done simultaneously with a full-time career
  • Your own autonomy to pick exactly what and how to learn; as a result, less exposure to things outside your field of awareness
  • Learn alone; no social environment
  • Find the answers to questions on content or learning process yourself
  • Adapt the material to your individual learning style yourself.
  • Provide your own personal space to experiment and implement your ideas
  • Build your network yourself
  • No need to consider others’ needs or point of view: Always “get your way”
designing your own education

A co-creation session with Tribe 15

How we do it: Co-creation sessions

Co-creation sessions build the program from the ground-up with input from you and your Tribe. First with your Tribe and staff, you design the process for how the co-creation session is run. When you this is in place, you then have several co-creation sessions over the first few weeks of the program. Here you build the curriculum for the first three months, voting on what workshops to take. When your program is designed, you can then relax and dive wholeheartedly into your learning knowing that you are supported by a set program framework. (For what students think of co-creation sessions, look here). It ends up being a patchwork of many different colored strands – Some you chose and some you didn’t.

designing your own education

Designing Tribe 14’s curriculum

If you are looking for the ideal balance between the independence of self-schooling and the rigidity of formal schooling, Knowmads might just be the place for you. It has a cradling framework in which you are supported to create your projects and explore your interests, but leans heavily towards the independence side.

Just 2 days left to apply for the journey of your life: Our 6-month program which starts September 3rd. Go here to get started!


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