a 3-week virtual workshop for self-directed learners
– Odessa, 16 years old. Virginia, USA. Launchpad 2017
LET’S FACE IT: getting things done as a self-directed learner can be hard. You get inspired, you start working on something, and then… you get distracted, lose focus, or give up.
When you’re casually exploring new interests, this “dabbling” approach is the right one. But when you really want to make something happen—to finish a big project, complete an ambitious goal—a new approach is warranted.
IF YOU WERE IN SCHOOL, you might have someone else to motivate you. Someone to hold you accountable. Someone who wouldn’t let you quit. But as a self-directed learner, you’ve got to to provide these things for yourself. Your world is rich with freedom and opportunities waiting to be seized. That’s what this workshop is all about.
For three weeks, Unschool Adventures director Blake Boles will guide you through the process of getting stuff done as a self-directed learner. This will include:
THIS WORKSHOP IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. We designed it for young self-directed learners who are ready to get focused, work hard, and make something big happen in their lives. If this is you—then welcome to Launchpad!
Launchpad is a 19-day course. Start anytime!
This is an email-based course. Join from anywhere!
Launchpad is designed for ages 14-21, but there is no formal age restriction.
Created by Blake Boles with the help of Margie Sanderson.
– Abby, age 20. Rhode Island, USA. Launchpad 2017
– Nicole, parent. Launchpad 2017
Launchpad is a 19-day, email-based virtual workshop. Join from anywhere in the world with only a smartphone.
Each morning you’ll receive an email from U.A. director Blake Boles that explains a new part of the Launchpad process: how to choose manageable goals, stay on track, manage distractions, avoid procrastination, and much more. You’ll also receive links to recommended articles, videos, and chapters from Blake’s book The Art of Self-Directed Learning (included with the workshop) to go deeper into the material.
Launchpad is about doing, not just thinking. Each email includes a new practical challenge where you’ll put the day’s lesson to use. Most challenges involve writing, and some also involve drawing or taking a photograph. (Don’t worry, no artistic skills required!) Each challenge requires 30-60 minutes. If you fall behind, don’t worry—you can always review the previous emails and catch up. But to get the most out of the workshop, we suggest that you complete each by the day’s end!
The best part about Launchpad is: You’re not alone! You can join our international community of self-directed young people by sharing the results of your daily challenges on Instagram using the hashtag #UAlaunchpad. (Click here to browse all previous posts.) Sharing on Instagram isn’t just fun—it serves as an important way to keep yourself accountable, find inspiration from other workshop members, and to inspire others yourself.
In the first two weeks, you’ll focus on one small goal to complete by the end of the workshop. Then, in the final few days, you’ll choose a bigger, more ambitious goal that you want to complete in the next few months and take your first step toward completing it. You’ll leave Launchpad with clear intentions, a burst of motivated energy, and a new toolkit for following your dreams—ready to get stuff done as a self-directed learner.
Click here to browse all #UAlaunchpad posts
– Deanne, parent. Launchpad 2017
Blake is the creator of Launchpad, the founder of Unschool Adventures, and the author of three books about self-directed learning for teens and young adults—most recently The Art of Self-Directed Learning. As someone who has faced the challenges of staying productive as a self-directed learner (and self-employed person) for most of his adult life—and someone who works regularly with young people struggling with self-motivation—Blake brought together his all-time favorite research, readings, and practical advice to create Launchpad (read more).
Margie is a lifelong autodidact, long-time member of the Not Back to School Camp community, and a former staff member of the Philadelphia Free School. As a young adult possessing a depth of experience supporting other self-directed learners, Margie helped Blake develop the email lessons and served as Community Manager for the first Launchpad Live workshop.
What’s the difference between this version of Launchpad and the one that happened in September 2017?
The September 2017 Launchpad was a “live” pilot version course with 30+ participants all doing Launchpad at the same time. It was facilitated by Margie, and it cost $150.
This version of Launchpad is not facilitated by Margie. Participants may begin the workshop at any time. It has the same content, and it costs $100.
Margie may be returning to offer another “live” Launchpad—details will be announced on this webpage and the U.A. mailing list (sign up at the bottom of this page)!
How much time does it take?
Expect to spend between 30-60 minutes on each day’s challenge, whenever it works with your schedule. Days 7 and 14 are “mellow” days with less time-consuming challenges.
What if I already have a specific goal in mind?
The first week of Launchpad focuses on generating lots of ideas for a goal, following certain goal-setting guidelines, refining your ideas, choosing the the best one, and committing to it. This is a vital part of the Launchpad process, and it’s one that your should embrace to get the full experience! If you come into the workshop already committed to a certain goal (and not willing to consider alternatives), Launchpad might not be for you.
What’s included with the workshop?
Launchpad includes a new email lesson each day (19 total) and a digital copy of The Art of Self-Directed Learning by Blake Boles (in PDF, Kindle, and epub formats so that you may read it on any device).
Please note that personal support (e.g., one-on-one emails) is not offering in this version of Launchpad.
What equipment do I need?
All you need is a smartphone that is capable of running Instagram.
Do I have to do all the challenges?
To get the most out of the workshop, we encourage you to do everything—especially by posting Instagram photos—but fundamentally it’s up to you. You won’t get “kicked out” if you don’t consistently do everything.
I live outside North America, can I still join?
Yes, we’d love to have you! You may join from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. The daily emails are sent around 1:00am Pacific Standard Time / 4:00am Eastern Standard Time.
How do I setup my Instagram?
What’s the refund policy?
We do not offer refunds for Launchpad after a purchase is made. Sorry! But if you’re unsatisfied with the workshop, we do want to hear from you—please write directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.