User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

Extreme Learners

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The idea of extreme learners fits so nicely with my ideas of user-generated education. So what follows is an aggregate of ideas, videos, and graphics related to being an extreme learner.

Milton Chen has stated, “Extreme learners aren’t so different from everybody else.” I believe that the tenets and characteristics of extreme learners can apply to every learner given the support, time, and skills to do so. This actually fits with the ideas and characteristics of heutagogy and self-determined learning.

What follows are some resources and ideas related to being and encouraging extreme learners.

Extreme learners are renegades who take charge of their own education. They apply novel feedback mechanisms and optimize their learning experiences. They have learned how to learn. And you can, too. Extreme learners defy traditional definitions of teacher and student. They design their own curricula from online courses, get their hands dirty at community laboratories and hackerspaces, and seek out mentors. They help others learn, participating in an active learning exchange. They are teachers as much as they are learners. (Extreme Learners)

It’s the hunger for learning rather than raw intellect that distinguishes Extreme Learners from the gifted. Intensely motivated and harboring a breadth of interests, they also consider ignorance a temporary and reparable condition. What’s the lesson here for schools? In short, standardization, repetition, and rigidity are deadly for the curious. “Nothing bores me more than seeing a list of redundant facts I have to memorize,” Mollie Cueva-Dabkoski said. Biology class dragged for Thomas Hunt, but the school turned him down when he tried to replace a few classes with work in a lab outside school. “High school is a big day care system,” Roth said. The main takeaway for teachers is, give students more flexibility and choice over what they’re working on,” Milton Chen said. “Give kids the tools to identify their interests and gather information. And help them find like-minded people to work with.”  (What Makes an ‘Extreme Learner’?)

Milton Chen proposes the following 7 Habits of Extreme Learners


Finally, there is a new initiative entitled XQ: The Super School that appears to be promoting an educational learning environment that supports Extreme Learners:

To rethink school, every participant deserves access to the latest science about learning, the latest understanding about what the true need is, the latest expertise about what kinds of students our educational system must now foster. (




Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

March 10, 2016 at 5:31 pm

One Response

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  1. Hi Jackie Gerstein: Intriguing post as usual. Reminiscent of a workshop I heard on self learners such as Ben Franklin. I understand in part the IQ and XQ, but I am not sure of how you are using EQ. Is this referring to extreme quotient? In some contexts we speak fo EQ as the emotional quotent. This refers to work done by Daniel Goldman on the topic:
    Just wondering. Paul.


    March 10, 2016 at 6:26 pm

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