Imagine a library that catered specifically to your own personal interests and passions… a library too big to fit into the confines of a physical building… a library with endless learning experiences suited to each and every unique learner. The SelfDesign Learning Experience Library is all that and more. It is one of SelfDesign® Learning Community’s special offerings that are accessible to learners and families and is revolutionizing the way in which they learn.

Welcome to another installment of our blog series, What Sets Us Apart, where we explore how SelfDesign is unique.

The SelfDesign Learning Experience Library links learners to thousands of resources that are high-quality, curated, appropriate and advertisement-free. It allows us to authentically connect our learners’ personalized learning paths to the B.C. curriculum in a holistic and unique way.

SelfDesign Library Manager Marianne Butler believes that at the heart of SelfDesign is an understanding that true learning emerges when learners, of all ages, are encouraged and supported to explore the things that interest them at their own pace.

Learners can dig into their interests, and parents can feel secure that the resources provided in the Library are free of marketing and that the content is age-appropriate, according to Cheryl, a SelfDesign parent of learners Izzy (9), Sophia (7) and Phoenix (4).

“Izzy loves the library,” Cheryl says. “Any topic we possibly want to learn more about is in there, and each topic has books, videos, articles, experiments and ideas vetted specifically for it.”

For example, Izzy decided she wanted to learn about blogging. Before Cheryl and Izzy even entered the library, they spoke with their learning consultant, Shelly, about it. Shelly told them about a Learning Experience in the library called Blogging and Vlogging, and emailed a link to the Learning Experience that contained learning resources and related content pages about finding a blog topic, monetizing a blog, how to set up a YouTube channel, blogging tips for kids, when to post your blog, writing steps, how blogging affects your brain, and more.

“The Learning Experience Library is an extension of our philosophy,” Marianne says. “Each Learning Experience explores a unique topic or learning process. The library offers learners access to thousands of resources that are easily found and accessed through Learning Experiences and their related content pages [like Blogging and Vlogging].”

A major benefit of the library for learners and families is the content is carefully curated so they don’t have to spend time searching for information. Unlike material on the general Internet, Learning Experiences are there for learners as they are interested and in a supportive, encouraging and safe environment.

The Learning Experience Library also allows learners and families to easily express how every learner’s individual learning path — as expressed through their unique collection of Learning Experiences — relates to the B.C. curriculum through the learner’s personalized learning plan.

“The library has specific ideas on how to tie your learning experience back to learning at SelfDesign, such as through which learning areas are being engaged,” Cheryl says. “For instance, the Blogging and Vlogging Learning Experience is tied to curricular competencies in applied design and skills in technology, career education, and language arts. This is real-life personalized learning that is giving Izzy the skills she needs to succeed.”

SelfDesign Principal of Educational Programs Nikki Kenyon believes the idea — that we can craft a set of learning experiences around learners’ interests and that it will take them to a place they didn’t know was possible within that interest — is unique to SelfDesign. “The library provides validation of the fact and the very foundation of SelfDesign that learning is happening everywhere on a daily basis.”

The library was borne out of a need to acknowledge, honour and encourage our learners through supporting their interests and passions and to legitimize personalized learning and its connection to the B.C. curriculum. The goal remains the same today.

What started out as a pilot project in 2016 has now expanded. The SelfDesign Learning Experience Library now contains more than 150 Learning Experiences on a wide array of topics and interests.

To read more stories from our ‘What Sets Us Apart‘ series, we encourage you to check out our blog post  ‘Learning happening everywhere‘ and Beyond the credentials: Lifelong learning after achieving your diploma.