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Free-choice learning is about deciding what, where and how we want to learn over our lifetime. It's self-motivated learning that takes place all the time, outside of a classroom setting.
Comprising anything from an educational hobby such as astronomy to what’s called “value-added” entertainment (for example: reading a science-based magazine, watching a documentary, or going to a museum), free-choice learning focuses on several elements essential for learning: choice and control and personal identity.
As the first and preeminent university program focused on free-choice STEM learning in the U.S., Oregon State University is directly impacting both how the nation understands the role of learning in and beyond schooling and the practice of supporting learners of all ages and backgrounds in their quest for greater knowledge and understanding. OSU researchers are internationally recognized as leaders in understanding why people engage in free-choice learning, how institutions engaged in supporting free-choice learning impact their communities and how to conceptualize and study learning systemically by focusing on lifelong, life-wide and life-deep learning. Our graduates are assuming leadership roles in universities, museums, national parks, zoos and aquariums and media companies and through the application of their enhanced understanding of free-choice learning are directly impacting the quantity and quality of public education in the U.S. and internationally.