Passion-Based Learning

What do you want to learn about?

When was the last time someone seriously asked you this question? Wouldn’t you love to have a learning experience, designed just for you, without any stipulations?

People generally do not learn simply by listening to other people talk. Perhaps some people learn through discussion, but do not confuse discussion with lecture. The traditional style of teacher-centered education is not as effective as a variety of student-centered instructional methods.


My boyfriend graduated a few years ago and when we talked about authentic, self-prescribed learning experiences, he said:

The best part about being out of school is learning about what you want to learn about, not what they tell you to learn.”

It’s sad that people can’t have amazing learning experiences both in school and out of school. Why can’t we give control to our students, letting them explore content that motivates them? Do we teach Shakespeare every fall because that’s what we’ve always done? Why limit students to learn a set of prescribed content when there is a world of knowledge waiting to be explored?


Wouldn’t you jump at the chance to experience a completely authentic learning process, where you have complete control? Think of the opportunities you could have if a teacher handed over the curriculum book and had full confidence in your approach to learning, letting you choose what you want to learn about and how. This, in a nutshell, is Passion-Based Learning.

Passion-Based Learning is a whole new approach to student-centered education.

Passion-Based Learning is not: What do you want to learn about the events leading up to the Civil War? What do you want to learn about in the field of agriculture? What do you want to learn about quadratic equations?

Passion-Based Learning lets students design their learning experiences. By exploring students’ unique passions, the mandated objectives, standards, and content will still be covered. Students explore topics that motivate them: sports, reading, photography, art, animals…the possibilities are endless.


In an article entitled, Passion-Based Learning, Ainissa Ramirez says that the power of passion is not just a hippie feeling or vibe:

Be a passion-based teacher. Take on a new learning posture with your students by presenting a story behind the topic you are teaching, or by showing its beauty, or by delighting in the topic. Get in touch with your inner geek. When you do that, you give students permission to do the same.”

My Digital Literacy course is exploring Passion-Based Learning this semester. While we will be covering ISTE standards in the class, we have the power to do so by exploring our passions. One of my classmates is exploring the Japanese language while another student will be making clothes. The possibilities are endless but at the end of the semester, we will all cover each of the prescribed standards.

While I consider myself more liberal with teaching methods, the premise of the course is very new. It takes a bit of effort to rearrange your brain and realize the vast potential that Passion-Based Learning provides.

Want to know more about Passion-Based Learning? Check out these sites:

Nine Tenets of Passion-Based Learning

Cybrary Man’s Educational Web Sites – This  site is full of great Passion-Based Learning resources

Want Passion (Not Just Data) to Drive Learning? There’s a School for That!

Kid Blogs – Watch another classroom experience Passion-Based Learning

Learn on, my passionate friends. Learn on.