Why Build Your Own Curriculum?

20.09.2017 |

Episode #1 of the course Learn any subject with your own curriculum by Michelle Gommel


Hello, and welcome to my course! I’m Michelle, founder and writer of The Constant Scholar, a blog devoted to inspiring people to become lifelong learners and providing them with the tools to succeed at it.

During this course, you will dive headlong into the wide world of the internet and the vast amount of resources it contains. By the end of these ten lessons, you will have built a comprehensive curriculum of courses and resources that will teach you whatever skill or subject you would like to master.

But why should you build your own curriculum? Surely, there are plenty of resources out there, some of them with curriculums of their own, like Udacity’s Nanodegrees or Coursera’s Specializations. We’ll take a look at some of those, but what happens when your chosen subject isn’t offered on one of those platforms? And what do you do when you finish one and want to dive even deeper into the subject? Building your own curriculum is a solution to both those problems and a great many more.

Let me put it this way: In high school and college, you were provided with a syllabus when you started each class. With that syllabus, you knew what was expected of you each day: what assignments were due, what topics would be covered, and other guidelines. You were able to trust that if you followed the syllabus, you would be prepared not only to pass the tests and exams but also gain a level of mastery in the subject.

Even further, in order to obtain a degree, you were provided with a plan of sorts, a list of courses you needed to take and pass to be able to graduate. You simply came in with a rough idea of the subject you wanted to master, and the school provided you with the organization and systems to help you along. Even if there were problems or uncertainty, there were counselors on hand whose job it was to point you in the right direction and ensure that you took the courses necessary to earn your degree and master your chosen subject.

However, as an adult learner, there are very few resources out there that give you the same stability as a syllabus and even fewer that offer the same level of mastery as a degree plan. And there are certainly no school counselors out there to make sure you’re headed in the right direction, especially as an independent learner. Therefore, it becomes your responsibility to navigate your way through the resources available to you; determine which of them is worth your time, energy, and money; and schedule them in a way that both avoids setting you up for burnout and allows you to master your chosen subject.

In the next lesson, you will identify your subject and turn it into a viable search term. We will also try to identify any peripheral subjects that might help your overall mastery.

Yours truly,



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Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel


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