What is SDE?

Self-Directed Education is a cutting-edge new form of human-rights-aligned, future-proofing education that is as old as the hills. It’s a modern version of the most common form of education used throughout human history, before the brief experiment we currently call ‘school’. It makes no distinction between work and play, given that play is the instinctive way that free humans explore and master new knowledge and skills.  

Self Directed Education looks different for each individual, and different each day, since it allows a natural flow of interest and exploration.

Self-Directed Education can include organized classes or lessons, if freely chosen by the learner; but most Self-Directed Education does not occur that way. Most Self-Directed Education comes from everyday life, as people pursue their own interests and learn along the way. The motivating forces include curiosity, playfulness, and sociability—which promote all sorts of endeavors from which people learn. Self-Directed Education necessarily leads different individuals along different paths, though the paths may often overlap, as each person’s interests and goals in life are in some ways unique and in some ways shared by others.

Alliance for Self-Directed Education

You can find out more about Self-Directed Education by reading the four articles that begin here.

Education is the

…process of acquiring knowledge, values, and skills that are conducive to a satisfying and meaningful life. As such, education is a natural, everywhere, all-the-time, developmental process that begins at birth and continues throughout life.

Scott Noelle

An education is the capacity to author your own life instead of merely accepting the one handed to you.

Blake Boles

Education is the sum of everything a person learns that supports them towards living a satisfying and meaningful life. Self-Directed Education is education that derives from the self-chosen activities and life experiences of the learner, whether or not those activities were chosen deliberately for the purpose of education.

Alliance for Self-Directed Education

It’s not so much what children learn through play, but what they won’t learn if we don’t give them the chance to play. Many functional skills like literacy and arithmetic can be learned either through play or through instruction – the issue is the amount of stress on the child. However, many coping skills like compassion, self-regulation, self-confidence, the habit of active engagement, and the motivation to learn and be literate cannot be instructed. They can only be learned through self-directed experience (i.e. play).

Susan J. Oliver