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Future Learning: The New School

Posted on Aug 5, 2013

Anyone involved in the designing, shaping and marketing of future education must have one eye on the New School. The New School provides competition to established institutions, yet it can also be an inspiration for much needed evolution. Educators from the New School come in many shapes and forms. And they seem to be growing in number every single day. We delved into our Lab and selected a Top 10 to watch out for.


Experience Institute:

We must admit we immediately fell in love with this website and this fantastic idea of learning by experience. The story started when Victor Saad found he didn’t like the price or fit of the MBA programmes he was researching, so he sought out his own ‘classrooms’ at top companies.

And now for $10,000 he offers students a 12-month HE programme that’s been created with input from the likes of Apple and Kellogg. It involves three or four real-world apprenticeships at companies that specialise in such fields as Design, Technology, Business Development and Social Innovation. Click this video to see the story.



‘Enstitute is a non-profit, apprenticeship-based, educational experience that turns start-ups and small businesses into classrooms.’

Students can join a 2-year apprenticeship where they will learn by doing, working under entrepreneurs. This is supplemented with a robust curriculum of online and offline work. And importantly, they also build a digital portfolio of work, projects and recommendations.

They aim to graduate 500,000 students in high growth fields by 2025. And their story has been picked up by Forbes and Fast Company.



OK it may not be a name that rolls off the tongue easily, but it’s an innovative concept created by the Entrepreneurship Centre of Excellence at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Finland. And it’s hard to believe it’s now 20 years old.

Put simply, they bring student entrepreneurs together to run their own cooperative businesses. And when the students graduate, they then embark on a trip around the world with the money they generated during their studies. So far, teams across the world in such countries as Brazil, Spain, the UK, Hungary, France and of course Finland have created marketing agencies, wedding fairs, a restaurant and a steam train park. 37% of their students launch their own business within 6 months of graduation.


Saxifrage School:

A higher education laboratory that aims to lower costs, re-think the campus, and reconcile disciplines, the Saxifrage School is another radical concept. Their plan is to have one-on-one mentors, lower tuition fees and offer 4-year degree programmes at a nomadic campus that makes the most of Pittsburgh’s underutilised space. A great article in The Wall Street Journal picks up the story – we’ll watch what happens in the future. Good luck to a worthwhile and brave idea.


Knowmads International Business School:

Starting out as an experiment created by a group of entrepreneurs and educators on a boat in Rotterdam, Knowmads attracts a ‘tribe’ of young change makers from around the world and collaborates on real-world projects with the likes of KLM and Deutsche Telekom. The 12-month programme is based in Amsterdam and the students even co-own the school.

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The Mycelium School:

Learning reimagined, The Mycelium School offers a 9-month residential education in North Carolina for emerging leaders who are driven to make a positive impact in the world through entrepreneurial means. In their words:

‘The Mycelium School helps participants create actionable solutions to real life problems. By disrupting the status quo of higher education, The Mycelium School provides a necessary alternative for people who are changing the story – young, emerging leaders seeking to contribute their best to the world.’

The Matador Network are big fans too.


Project Breaker:

These guys stand out for ‘Redefining education, creating entrepreneurs and designing change’. Their mission – to drive social innovation and alternative learning by mobilising interdisciplinary teams of young creative collaborators to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.

They do this by connecting young people with global thought leaders and challenging them
 to design product and service solutions for emerging industries. Their next challenge is ‘The Future of Stuff.’ Watch their video featuring the company’s founder and TED Senior Fellow Juliette LaMontagne.


Hyper Island:

If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll know we like to keep up with Hyper Island. If you’re a relatively new follower, this is a story you’ve got to hear. An idea that was formed 15 years ago, Hyper Island has taken industry-based learning to a whole new level. There are no lectures or textbooks. Creative students learn through collaboration, inspirational guest speakers, sparking off each other and working on real-life projects for the likes of Adidas and Greenpeace.

They offer a range of Executive and Student programmes ranging from Digital Media to ecommerce. And they have centres in Singapore, New York, Manchester (UK) and Stockholm. While their main base is a former military prison on an island in Sweden!

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Learn With TED:

This is a bit leftfield and a big risk. Just what you’d expect from a budding entrepreneur. It remains to be seen whether the site quietly disappears, gets the backing of big TED or TED has similar plans of its own. But it has the right sentiment and ambition. It’s worth checking out. And it will be interesting to see how things pan out.

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The Village:

Over in Boulder, US there’s a community that’s co-creating the future. Where a tribe of 12 young students live and learn with their mentors and role models in two neighbouring houses. Their aim? To change the world. Sure, it’s only small now. But it genuinely sounds more culture change than cult and we watch with interest. They aren’t small fry either. Here are a couple of them on stage at TEDxMileHigh.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this global round up of alternative educators. Of course, this is just a snap-shot of just some of the exciting, emerging landscape. All of this, and lots more is in our Lab and available to inspire and help shape your own way forward. If you want to learn more about how the Future Index can help you then please look at how we help institutions with their future employability offer by clicking here.

To ask us to think about how we might meet a challenge, please contact us.

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  1. Future Learning: Alt Tech | Future Index Extra
    7th August 2013

    […] out if he had any. So, as well as pointing her in the direction of our last blog piece about the ’10 top alternative educators’ we went back to the Lab and looked at some alternative […]

  2. Floris Koot
    22nd September 2013

    As part of Knowmads staff and feeling part of the revolution I’d like to point out these links too: and this similar one:
    and this one that is still in the process of being build up, but will be different for it will not be success driven, but more family driven with an eye on community and environment in which start ups operate.

  3. futureindex
    22nd September 2013

    Thanks for sharing Floris.


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