Launchpad 2017

a 3-week virtual workshop for self-directed learners

Kick-start your next year of self-directed learning

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 in September, we will guide you through the process of getting stuff done as a self-directed learner. This will include:

  • setting extremely clear and accomplishable goals for yourself
  • navigating your first dip in enthusiasm (and second, and third…)
  • creating accountability mechanisms to help you do what you say you’ll do
  • eliminating the distractions that keep you from your most important work
  • recruiting a tribe of peers and adults who won’t let you quit

THIS WORKSHOP IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. We designed it for young self-directed learners who are seriously passionate about making something big happen in their lives—something they can point to and say, I did that. If you’re one of them, we’re looking forward to working with you in September :)


September 11-29, 2017


Online—join from anywhere!


20+ participants ages 14-21, flexible


Margie Sanderson and Blake Boles




Registration is closed and the workshop has begun with 30+ participants.

Please join our mailing list to get notified when we offer another workshop (see the bottom of the page).

How it Works

Launchpad is three weeks long, and it’s entirely online. Join from anywhere in the world with only a smartphone.

Daily Mini-Challenges

Each morning you’ll receive an email with a new mini-challenge designed by U.A. director Blake Boles. These are real-life challenges that require doing—not just thinking or studying—and will help you develop your abilities to choose manageable goals, stay on track, avoid distractions, and stay true to your dreams.

Instagram Sharing

After you finish the day’s mini-challenge, it’s time to share what you did by posting a photo on Instagram! Everyone in the workshop will follow everyone else’s accounts, so you’ll be able to see how other workshop members approach each day’s challenge. This is the main way we will keep track of our work and cross-pollinate each other with inspiration.

Forums and Email Support

If you need extra support from your peers or Margie (the workshop manager), we’ll have a members-only forum where you can go to ask questions and answer other people’s questions. Additionally, Margie will always be available to answer your emails whenever you need one-on-one support.

The Final Challenge

In the last week of the workshop, you’ll choose one ambitious goal that you want to complete in the next few months—and you’ll take one big step toward it. You’ll leave with clear intentions, a burst of motivated energy, and a new toolkit for following your dreams.

The Big Five Principles

Be open, public, and vulnerable

Go big or go home

Do something rather than nothing

Work smarter, not harder

Put skin in the game

Workshop Leaders

Margie Sanderson

Workshop Manager

Blake Boles

Workshop Designer

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time does it take?

Expect to spend between 30-60 minutes on each day’s mini-challenge. You can do the challenges anytime during the day, whenever they work with your schedule. The two Sundays (September 17 & 24) will be rest days, and the challenges on those days will be mellow and reflective.

Can you tell me more about the mini-challenges?

The daily mini-challenges will involve reading, writing, watching videos, doing online research, creating things on a computer, and sometimes completing real-world adventures to complete in your local community. We don’t want to ruin the surprise, so we don’t provide a full list—but rest assured, these challenges be fun, meaningful, and push your comfort zones.

What do I get with the workshop?

1. A new mini-adventure emailed to you each day of the course (20 total)
2. Access to group Instagram accounts
3. Access to the private course forum
4. One-on-one email support from course staff
5. A digital copy of 215-page book The Art of Self-Directed Learning by Blake Boles (in PDF, Kindle, and epub formats).

What equipment do I need?

All you need is a smartphone that’s capable of running Instagram.

Do I have to participate in everything?

We’ll encourage you to participate as much as possible (especially by posting Instagram photos), but fundamentally it’s up to you how much you’d like to do. If you’d like to just receive the emails and do the challenges on your own schedule, that’s fine.

I live outside North America, can I still join?

Yes, we’d love to have you! You may join from anywhere in the world that has a reliable internet connection. Depending on which time zone you’re in, you might receive the daily emails at an odd time of day (instead of the morning).

How do I setup my Instagram?

If you’re new to Instagram, it’s easy to sign up (click here). If you already have an account, you can use that one, or if you want to create a second Instagram account just for this course, that’s also easy (click here).

What’s the refund policy?

Until September 3rd: Full refunds available. Email
After September 3rd: No refunds available.


Registration is closed.

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