Why we are doing OneMonthCampus

OneMonthCampus is an open co-learning and co-working environment, in the awe-inspiring Himalayas, where you can spend a month exploring, learning and working on various creative skills with a supportive community.

It’s a pilot program to address some of the issues associated with how we approach learning and education when quality learning resources are clicks away. At its core, we want to help people learn by doing (focus on making things), develop skills and relationships, instill the confidence to work independently and join the indie-makers movement.

I have been interested in this field for a while and have been part of learning communities like Jaaga. I will briefly touch upon some existing learning models, their pros & cons, and possible solution.

What we cherish about college is life-long friendships and is probably one of the most immersive social and holistic experiences in one’s life.

Colleges

Colleges are supposed to upskill people by providing good course content, infrastructure, peers, mentors and a conducive learning environment. But most of them, at least here in India; fail to give any practical, industry-relevant skills. They are rigid, expensive, have incompetent faculty & course material, and give limited exposure to the real world.

However, what we cherish about college is life-long friendships and is probably one of the most immersive social and holistic experiences in one’s life. That’s genuine value, they have a stronger influence on life than any college class could. Lots of room for creativity and collaboration.

MOOCs and Other online resources

Online learning resources have given access to quality course content, lectures from the best professors, to almost everyone. Most of these courses also have forums where students can ask questions and have online interactions. Today, anyone with a strong will can learn anything. That said, less than 10% students actually finish a course. Multiple reasons can be sighted, including “skin in the game”, motivation, live help, mentors etc. There is no real social interaction with peers.

MOOCs are good for people just auditing a course but are not complete in itself for most people who are sincerely looking to upskill and get a job/startup.

Bootcamps

Bootcamps are super intensive, 3–4 month programs to help people learn a technical skill. They provide quality course materials, competent mentors and could be online or offline. They are doing a great job of training people and making them employable. They deliver a lot of quality in a short span of time and so are very expensive.

It’s good for people who already have a degree, want to skill up quickly and can afford the cost. Because of its intensive nature, they are usually not very social and room for creativity and collaboration is limited.

Another model?

Physical learning spaces can go a long way in connecting people and help build a community where students have access to quality course content (mostly internet based), mentors, peers, is much more social, fun, and affordable. Since such courses should be self-directed, there is no hand-holding involved and the role of mentors is limited to just pointing people to right resources and clearing doubts. Mentors can initially be sourced from the participating community itself on a volunteering basis.

The program has to be creation-based(learning by doing) hence no matter what, every student has to produce a learning artifact. It should also host senior people from various skillsets who are already working. Interactions with them can be extremely valuable for junior people, who still don’t know how things actually work in the industry.

The program can be open to various skill sets or focused on a particular course. It should be holistic(impart other practical life skills). Short term goal of such programs could be just making students ‘employable’; however more driven, and entrepreneurial folks should be encouraged and supported to continue using the space to be indie-makers(small internet businesses, artists, writers etc.). There should be room for fun, activities and all sorts of collaborations.

What if there was such a campus?

We are doing OneMonthCampus as a pilot program to try out the above-mentioned model. Come, join and be part of a fun, learning community!

I would love to hear your comments on this!