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What is Foundations in Applied SDE?

Foundations in Applied Self-Directed Education is a bootcamp to help you put self-directed learning into action.  

This course provides the foundational skills that parents, educators, and business owners need to create successful learning environments for people of all ages to learn with maximum agency and engagement.  

Whether you are a parent needing to add some spice into your journey with home education or you are a teacher looking to leave the traditional classroom, or anything in between this course will give you new skills to ignite or kindle the love of learning in yourself and your students.

Are there any prerequisites?

The only prerequisite for this course is a basic understanding of what Self-Directed Education (SDE) is.  Some helpful terms to google are:

  • Self-directed education
  • Unschooling
  • Learner centered education

If you are new to the idea of SDE, Galileo offers a free course to parents and community members that answers the question “What is Self-Directed Education?”

You can complete this course before enrolling in the Academy’s Foundations in SDE course or you can take them concurrently.

What is the time commitment?

In self-directed learning you get out of learning what you put into it.  In order to give the highest quality of attention to those who join the course we ask that participants take their commitment seriously.  Participants usually spend between 3 and 6 hours a week on the course and course materials.

  • Live Lecture and discussion: 1 hour per week
  • Pre recorded content to prepare for live lecture: 0.5-2 hours per week
  • Small group discussions and networking: 1 hour per week
  • Individual Project: 1+ hours per week (this varies greatly depending on the project chosen)

When and where does the course meet?

Six Thursdays: April 21st - May 26th  @ 1, 3, and 11 PM UTC (you choose which hour)

One Tuesday: April 19th @ 12pm UTC & 5pm UTC (you choose which hour)

👉 All online via Zoom

What will the course cover?

  • Week 1: Welcome to the Course and What is SDE? (April 21st)
  • Week 2: The difference between SDE and Direct Instruction (April 28th)
  • Week 3: Needs and Belonging and how they affect learning (May 5th)
  • Week 4: Building a supportive and safe community (May 12)
  • Week 5: Goal setting and webs of understanding (May 19th)
  • Week 6: Sharing and Celebrating (May 26th)

What support will I have?

During the course you will have direct access to Mary-Ellen Fimbel who is the course creator, facilitator, and Academy Manager, as well as small group leaders who have been through the course before and are now offering peer support in small groups.  You will also have the opportunity to sign up for 1:1 or small group coaching sessions to help you define and complete your individual project.

Who is teaching the course?

Mary-Ellen Fimbel has been an educator for over 20 years in many places and spaces. She has committed her life to helping kids become the best versions of themselves.

While growing up as an unschooler, Mary-Ellen began her educator journey as a babysitter and camp counselor.  In 2006, she then turned her attention towards becoming a professional educator, first in traditional classrooms and then as outdoor eduction leader with Tinkergarten.

While leading outdoor classes Mary-Ellen was reminded of how much fun learning and teaching could and should be. With reignited passion and a desire to improve the quality of education Mary-Ellen began teaching online in 2020 and found the world of self-directed education had grown significantly since her youth.

After a few months coaching and facilitating at Galileo, Mary-Ellen realized her expertise as a self-directed learner and long time professional educator could help others to create more meaningful self-directed learning experiences.

In 2021 she pitched the idea of a training academy to support educators in their transition from traditional educational practices to learner centered and self-directed support style.  The Galileo Academy launched in early 2022.

What is the cost of the course?

The cost of the 6 week course is regularly $99 USD.  

However, we are committed to bringing this educational opportunity to anyone who is interested so please don’t let your financial circumstances, or currency exchange stand in the way of taking the course.  

We have several scholarships available in each cohort, and a number of half price openings as well.  If this support would allow you to participate please reach out to Mary-Ellen Fimbel (  We are also able to offer group rates for groups of 3 or more participants who join together.

Where should I pay the fee?

You can pay the $99 registration fee here, or contact Mary-Ellen about scholarships.

Who do I contact with questions?

Mary-Ellen Fimbel can answer all your Academy Related questions! Reach her here: