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What is Self-Directed, Heart-Centered, Connected Learning and Why Does It Matter?

Excerpt from Harness the Power and Joy of Learning for Your Life, Book 1 in the LifeSPARKS Lifelong Learning Series by Lisa Nalbone

The purpose of self-directed, heart-centered, connected learning is to support you to develop your most powerful tool – your full self. How? By nurturing healthy roots to take full advantage of our beautifully interconnected systems.

Nurturing Healthy Roots

If you envision self-directed, heart-centered, connected learning as a tree with three main branching root systems it’s easy to see why learning is stronger with all three sets of roots. The balance and depth of the combined systems create a strength that helps withstand difficulties.

Engaging all three root systems takes advantage of your neurobiology. Together, they support human needs to make meaning, belong, survive, and grow. Evidence-based best practices from research in education, psychology, neurology, neurobiology, and motivation show that learning and motivation improve with:

• learner agency and interest, 

• physical movement, 

• emotional regulation, 

• reduced stress, 

• proper nourishment and hydration, 

• rest and sleep,

• breaks and play. 

Traditional education often prioritizes reaching isolated academic benchmarks as quickly as possible, testing, and then racing to the next benchmark. It usually skips recruiting the learner’s heart, adding context, or including experiential learning that help connect learning and life. The benchmarks may be reached, but often sacrifice both the student’s curiosity, creativity, and love of learning. 

Typically, test-driven learning does not last much beyond the test, or become integrated into the learner’s life in a meaningful way that serves their long term growth and development. If a learner becomes disenchanted with learning, and disconnected from their sense of self and strengths as a learner, what’s truly been accomplished?

When you use a holistic understanding of yourself, you can create the systems you need to build strong roots that support sustainable, long-term growth and authentic success.

Choosing self-directed, heart-centered, connected learning can help you bring your full self to the choices and challenges in your life.

Wishing you joy on all your learning journeys, Lisa

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