I see lots of new climate courses and programs popping up and I recommend asking questions about their instructional design practices and educational philosophy before you enroll.

There are many folks out there who may know a huge deal about their area of knowledge and expertise but struggle to be good educators. This is not surprisingβ€”across the world, we tend to devalue teaching as a skill. Yet if you look back on your educational journey, you can probably recall a few teachers or professors who were great, even inspiring educators, some who were terrible, and some who were just meh. Their skill as teachers probably shaped your trajectory in life in very significant ways.

πŸ€” Why are you being educated? πŸ€”

At Terra.do, we take teaching and learning very seriously. We have a comprehensive educational philosophy from which we have created a set of instructional design practices. I am very inspired by a (esoteric and hard-to-read!) book written by the great Indian philosopher, J. Krishnamurti. The book is titled "Why Are You Being Educated?" This is a question all educators and learners should be constantly asking and conversing with each other about!

At Terra.do, we see the role of education as empowering you to take action on climate change, primarily, but by no means exclusively, in your job and career.

πŸ€ Our educational philosophy and design practices πŸ€

Our philosophy and design practices draw on two things:

🌺 The cutting edge of education theory, learning science and practice
🌺 A model of continuous improvement and experimentation based on tens of thousands of pieces of feedback we actively collect from ~3,000 learners we've graduated from our various programs.

Integrating these two strands of input, we've designed concrete best practices that are at the intersection of:

🌻 Climate and sustainability education, including intentional work around defining and teaching "green skills"
🌻 Action-enabling learning
🌻 Adult professional education
🌻 Online education
🌻 Global education, and
🌻 Building a caring community through learning

We train all our instructors and course creators in these design practices, and we never stop experimenting and innovating on our educational approaches. At this very moment, for example, we are undertaking a redesign of our live (online) labs inside our climate bootcamp for professionals, Climate Change: Learning for Action, to ensure we are meeting our diverse learners' needs even more effectively.

πŸ’» Technology matters, but not in obvious ways πŸ’»

Too many people confuse shiny objects (fancy, slick videos, for example) with effective education. The truth is you can deliver the most transformative, life-changing education in tents with little to no tech or glamor. This is literally what we did at SEEQS: the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability when I worked thereβ€”some of our classrooms were large tents.

While technology does, of course, make a huge difference to an educational experience, you have to make sure you're intentionally creating and using technology to deliver on clearly defined learning goals, as opposed to using it for flash and sparkle. This is a key reason why we built our own LMSβ€”it allows us to have technology that reflects and supports our educational philosophy and design principles.

It's also a reason why we run cohort-based programs as opposed to fully async, self-serve learning. We know how hard it is for busy people to stay engaged and motivated, and we've designed our experiences to provide the care and support learners need to get to the finish line.

πŸ’‘Let's all get educated in the right way for the right reasons πŸ’‘

Everything I've shared above, I learned the hard way myself. I used to have a very traditional approach to education, teaching in a fairly boring way with little understanding of how people learn best. Then I switched from teaching at universities to working in highly innovative K-12 schools. This was utterly transformative for me. I am forever grateful to the various school teachers and principals who kindly supported my own learning about, well, learning.

We are in a climate crisis. It's more important than ever that our educational experiences everywhere are transformative and empowering, and are in service to humanity and our planet.

So if you're considering taking a course, take a peek under the hood, ask hard questions about the learning experience, and ensure you're getting what you deserve!