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Meet Kyle Wagner Author, Project-Based Learning Guru


Kyle Wagner – Author | Learning Experience [Co] Designer | Project-Based Learning Consultant

I met with Kyle in a cafe in Little Italy San Diego right after he published his book,  The Power of Simple.

We talked about designing deep, meaningful, community centered learning experiences drawing from our respective experiences.

A little over 5 years later I reconnected with Kyle because I noticed we are working on similarly structured and related projects.  Says Kyle:

My #1 mission is to help forward thinking educators develop more socially, globally, and emotionally aware citizens through project-based learning…Here’s what I want to do in 2023 to empower others:

> Build a global network of learning experience designers

> Publish a book on designing learner-centered environments to share stories inside learner-centered classrooms
> Continue my podcast that features stories, tips, and insights from seasoned practitioners
Develop a team of trainers

Kyle is building a learning network, writing a book, celebrating the work of experts, and seeking to empower others to share his mission. The framework of our work is nearly identical only he’s on iteration two while this is my first.  So I consider that Kyle is the first accountability partner/mentor that I hope to spend the next year supporting and sharing updates and lessons learned with. 

Kyle Wagner

Stay tuned for our coffee chat.

Kyle and I are going to get together to chat about the whys of Project Based Learning.

What does this have to do with personalizing learning networks?  Liken it to a group of kids out in the wood building fairy houses out of sticks, moss, and flowers vs. The Cross-Cultural Dumpling Project.  In my case, I wish to encourage and empower people to find their own group to build a fairy house with. If you are familiar with Start Up Weekends like the one I participated in San Diego you may understand the potential of these “pop-up learning and co-creating workshops” for participants. After all the team that started Portfolium, which was acquired by Instructure in 2019, got their start at the Start-Up Weekends I attended.  Your fairy house project may not be as successful as that but, I can guarantee that learning will occur.

When you add in the DO component, i.e. learning and doing network with co-creating something with an organically formed team outside of your formal workplace you will benefit in many many ways including relationship building and soft skills even if you don’t end up as a co-founder of a company as a result.

Co-creation of almost anything with like-minded practitioners will pave the road to some much more than passing business cards, stalking someone on Slack or LinkedIn, or reading/watching books, articles and videos. 

The power of transferable knowledge.

In the Learning Experience Design (Instructional Design) community we recognize that we should take lessons from other professionals such as marketers or advertisers. At Learning Ecos we believe that lessons can be taken from K-12 educators, community building experts, experience designers, and L&D leaders in the corporate space.  In the case of Kyle and I, it just takes a little translation to recognize how closely aligned some of our beliefs are. By replacing “student” with my own personal pronoun I am able to easily translate how educators are guiding student-centered learning into practices that will facilitate the personalization of my own learning network. Note on the below: I can whole-heartedly shake my head yes at the exact wording of points 2 and 5. More on this later regarding mentorship and like-mindedness.


I believe in the following guiding principles:

  • Innovation in school begins with building a culture that allows educators the freedom to take risks
  • We are not islands. True innovation ‘sticks’ when building a tribe of like minded practitioners.
  • Learning should move beyond the confines of the school walls and into the community
  • Change the pedagogy first before changing the practice
  • Deep and meaningful learning is the merging of head, hand and heart


I believe in the following guiding principles:

  • Innovation in workplace and industry begins with building a learning culture that allows team members the freedom to take risks.
  • We are not islands. True innovation ‘sticks’ when building a tribe of like minded practitioners.
  • Your learning ecosystem should move beyond the confines of the workplace and into the global community.
  • Change your practices before changing your habits.
  • Deep and meaningful learning is the merging of head, hand and heart.

The Book

The Power of Simple describes how Kyle Wagner used five simple strategies to co-create Futures Academy at the International School of Beijing — a school that puts students at the center of their learning.
> Create individualized experiences for your students 

> Create flexible schedules to allow for these experiences 

> Re-structure your space to impact student learning 

> Become a facilitator of learning

> Conquer standards and still have time to connect students to the real world

> Create integrated projects to exceed standards

> Create a community of innovators

Buy it here

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