About Black Mountain SOLE
What is Black Mountain SOLE?
Black Mountain SOLE is the world’s first “self-organized learning environment” (SOLE) for higher education and beyond. We’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization inspired by the idea that human curiosity is the best motivation for learning. We implement progressive ideas from leading thinkers in every field to catalyze independent learning. Our self-directed learning programs support participants – ‘SOLEmates’ – in exploring their unique areas of interest and pursuing their passions within a community of similarly passionate, motivated people.
The careers of the future won’t require the memorization of facts, but rather innovation, problem-solving, initiative, teamwork, and personal responsibility for ourselves and the world around us. As founders of Black Mountain SOLE, we harnessed both our own experiences and the years of research and experimentation of others to design a framework and offerings that we believe empower individuals to succeed both personally and professionally, now and in the future.
These pioneering programs have found a fitting home inside the SOLE framework developed by Dr. Sugata Mitra. While Dr. Mitra originally designed SOLEs for young students, its tenets of collaboration, self-direction, curiosity, and inquiry-driven approaches are essential for learning throughout one’s life. Creating a SOLE at Black Mountain gave a home to the learner-centered programs we are crafting.
What is a SOLE?
It’s a Self-Organized Learning Environment, which is the synergy of:
- Self-Organized Learning = you are in charge of an individualized process that is purpose- and passion-driven
- Learning Environment = an open, supportive, risk-encouraging, inspiring, connected community with access to infrastructure, space and resources, collaboration, exchange of ideas, amplifying new knowledge
- Learning = self-knowledge, skills, competencies, creativity, exploration, understanding and wisdom
- Accelerated Transformation individually, locally, and globally =
Integrated health & wellness
Economic, social and environmental sustainability
What is education for? We asked ourselves this question and founded Black Mountain SOLE as an expression of our answer.
We saw not only serious flaws in the current system but also tremendous opportunity. We’re joining the revolution – alongside new paradigms like DIY education and unschooling, new technology and content like MOOCs, and new blended learning programs – to offer a new education pathway.
We believe that education should encourage passion and cultivate curiosity. We believe it should nurture the whole learner – mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual – to empower them to live fulfilling, productive lives. And we believe it is a lifelong endeavor, rather than something that only happens during the time normally associated with formal education.
We want to enable people to seize every opportunity by nurturing the skills and capacities for both practical and personal success. We want people to thrive.
We believe that you can live a life that fulfills you as well as makes you successful. We believe that you should be able to define your own personal version of success. We believe that life is for living, for growing, for evolving, for experiencing.
Black Mountain SOLE promotes a culture of transparency, collaboration, creativity, and excellence. We’re a place where innovators, dreamers and achievers from around the world can come to create – to enrich the world and inspire us all.
We’re home to a lively mix of individuals at various places in their learning journey – some pursuing knowledge on their self-designed learning plans and projects, some launching projects or organizations, some getting clear on their purpose and passions – all supporting, inspiring and learning from each other.
The atmosphere is exploratory, innovative, and passionate, fueled by ongoing workshops, presentations, conferences, communities of practice, community gatherings, service projects, and trips that serve to stimulate this vibrant community.
Fulfilling a purpose that is joyful and greater than yourself
Profound sense of belonging and alignment within a community
Unconditional love where people feel free to be who they are
Experiencing your self, your relationships, and your work as meaningful and aligned
Your thoughts and actions are in alignment with who you are
Discovering what is possible by embracing the unknown
Accountability to the comprehensive wellness of the individual and the whole