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Map the Road to Success

What steps must you take towards a DIY credential?

Let's begin with a rough draft. Grab a notebook or etherpad and start sketching. Some research will be involved in this task. Take your time and explore all the options.

What's your starting point?

Relevant experience, interests and accomplishments, both academic and extracurricular. College courses taken, creative pursuits, volunteer work...

What are the learning steps you path requires?

Content and skills you’ll need to master--be specific! People or organizations that may become a part of your quest; Courses you want to take; Groups to join; Specific books, videos, websites that you want to read, watch, or use.

Set milestones and be specific

What are you going to do in the next day, week, month, and year to make your plan a reality? This is where accountability starts to come into play. Attach fair deadlines to milestones in your plan.

What are the experiences you want to pursue as part of your learning?

Internships, volunteering, travel, leadership of an organization, or experience working with a mentor.

Your Task: Share a basic outline of your learning plan with us. How long would it take you to complete a self-directed plan like this? Post a link to your learing plan in the comments below. Review other learning plans. 

See more advice about drafting plans in the Edupunk's Guide.

Task Discussion

  • Alan WiIliams said:

    Here is a link to my plan.

    on Sept. 22, 2012, 7:35 a.m.
  • LearningChicka said:


    Starting Point:
    One year of college courses on Advertising and Online Marketing
    Self exploration in Graphic Design, programming language, web design, SEO techniques, Social networking, blogging, writing, etc.
    Past experience in all of the above through working and freelancing
    Steps needed:
    Because I'm so opened about my learning pattern, and I have no one
    thing I plan to look into more than the other; I can't exactly be specific to a career so I'll go goal oriented.
    Promoting myself/idea/service/etc: 
    Tighten and clean up my SEO techniques
    Develop the correct personna to advertise in the category needed
    Carve an agenda that allows for regular updates through blogosphere
    forms to create and keep buzz on my personal project
    Develop a very basic understanding of spanish to broaden my
    Personal Growth:
    Better ways to sleep (I receive about an average of 3 hours a night)
    Tidy up meditation to make it more pinpointed and useful
    Better myself in my yoga skills
    I don't necessarily set milestones; but I create challenges. For example, Monday starts my month challenge of doing 20 minutes of pinpointed meditation a day.
    I also have a 'clean eating' challenge I've adapted for myself, to only eat clean for a year, and I'm almost through. So challenges in regards to my above steps:
    Start a course here, through Udemy, or other AE site concerning advanced SEO tips tricks and technologies within this week.
    Make steps toward sticking to a more reasonable time schedule and continue editing and tweeking through the rest of the year.
    Make a point to use my language instructor program (audios) for one hour a day starting Monday and using that for Spanish through to the end of the year (then assess if I need to continue or test a different language out)
    Start pushing myself further in yoga starting next month, when I change my exercise room for the winter.
      I love to learn through various experiences which is another reason why standard education doesn't work well for me. I have many friends and acquaintences through my current line of work, and past freelancing jobs. I've had many offers to take a peek into up and running websites, blogs, businesses, and otherwise.  I will begin to pursue these avenues as often as possible.
    Length of time:
    Because this is so much to tackle, and each area takes time; as well as there being so many hours in the day, I understand that this will take quite a while to achieve. I can atleast be started on quite a few of these ideas/wants as well as others within the next 6 months. I've always been a self starter, and able to motivate myself to do whats needed in order to get what I want from life.  I've already put myself (while working full time, with part time freelance, and full time school this past year) through a few different off the grid courses as well as hosting mini lan parties where we flex our scripting, coding, and design skills; then learn/teach each other.
    on Sept. 22, 2012, 7:24 a.m.
  • Jess Lance said:

    A very brief outline.

    Goal: to become a meteorologist.


    -weather station work at age 14

    -course on disasters and climate at University, Spring 2012

    -passionate love

    Learning steps:

    1. become proficient in maths and hard sciences (chemisty and physics)

    2. courses on meteorology

    3. Follow the American Meteorological Society and other pertinent websites

    4. Search for scholarly articles. Read books that are attainable.


    1. Begin elementary math instruction, Practice with other guides (Immediately)

    2] Begin on list of books (ASAP)

    3. Hire a tutor to help in maths/sciences (October)

    4] Consider a post-bacc in meteorology.

    Comments and suggestions are most welcome. I understand that in order to be successful, I'm going to have to further break down these goals.


    on Aug. 11, 2012, 10:33 p.m.
  • Anonym said:


    I currently have my own freelance web design and development business. My skill set is made up of years of experience in both client and server-side scripting in the following languages, frameworks, and databases: HTML 4.01/XHTML/HTML5, CSS 2/3, JS, jQuery, PHP 5, Ruby/Ruby on Rails, and SQL/MySQL. My confidence level is not high enough unfortunately, and I'm willing to revamp my knowledge base to strengthen this.

    Building my portfolio, learning vital techniques in SEO, e-commerce and internet security, and creating and maintaining a sizable clietele are my main goals.

    I'm currently a member of various online communities including the W3 Consortium, PHP Women, and Ruby Nuby, and want to contribute back to them as they have to me.

    I currently have a weekly Skype study partner, and am VERY excited to be studying PHP with her! I look forward to having our study group grow. 

    I plan on going for my PHP 5.3 and Zend Certification by the end of this year, as well as having a sizable portfolio of works I am very proud of. 

    on July 12, 2012, 5:25 a.m.
  • Anonym said:

    I am done with task 3, thanks for the help of all!

    Here is my plan: Task 3 P2PU

    on June 5, 2012, 3:06 p.m.

    AJC said:

    I noticed your background in "3d art for architecture and exhibitions". That's so cool.

    There's a few groups here who you might be able to help out/learn from!

    on July 10, 2012, 8:26 p.m. in reply to Anonym
  • Christopher Crawford said:

    the first part of my learning plan will take from May 2012 until the general election in November 2012

    I- OpenCourseWare lectures including topics on speech writing and political science classes on successful campaigns- write summaries of lectures & come questions for further exploration

    II- Reading List - including Political Campaign Communication: Principles & Practices, Campaign Bootcamp, & some texts involving marketing, branding, and managing found on Scribd, write summaries/responses to material 

    III- Real World Interactions- South Carolina New Dems Political Campaign School (weekend workshop summer 2012, exact date TBA); vetting some of the candidates running for county office, ideally 'volunteer coordinator' or 'office manager' position (experience as campaign volunteer, worked on web based marketing projects, managed small staff previously, & several years experience as copywriter that can possibly be selling points)

    on April 30, 2012, 3:37 a.m.
  • Stephen Wheeler said:

    My map to success is available to view here: Map the Road to Success

    As Dave points out below, this task should take some time and requires reflection and revisiting, which I'm sure I shall do. In a few months, or even weeks, I'm sure my map will look very different.

    For one thing, I still have to work out how long all this is going to take.

    Anyway, here it is for all to see and comment upon.

    on April 24, 2012, 11:35 a.m.

    Dave Rothacker said:

    Stephen (and all), You might want to check this site out. I'm not exactly sure how or if it fits with me, but it's worth a look.

    on April 24, 2012, 4:32 p.m. in reply to Stephen Wheeler

    AJC said:

    Apart from plowing through your reading list, I think a lot of the networking will be realized in the next step - to build a personal learning network..

    Great design, Stephen - excited to see how it evolves!

    on April 25, 2012, 12:35 p.m. in reply to Stephen Wheeler

    Stephen Wheeler said:

    Thanks for the recommendation Dave.

    It looks an interesting site, similar to P2PU but I think aimed at a younger audience - I shall investigate further.

    on April 25, 2012, 3:26 p.m. in reply to Dave Rothacker

    Stephen Wheeler said:

    Thanks for the feedback and encouragement Alison.

    I know the reading list is getting a bit unwieldy, but the more I read around the more resources reveal themselves.

    I hope the next step will help rationalise things.

    on April 25, 2012, 3:47 p.m. in reply to AJC
  • Dave Rothacker said:

    I began to work on this part of the plan and this sentence from the first paragraph here played in my head like a stuck phonograph needle: Take your time and explore all the options.

    The prompts for this task along with Anya's really got me to think about what has led me to this moment in the Universe. The stuff that I've read and studied since graduating high school is all over the map. Perhaps it would help me if I were to review some of it and place it in some semblance of order.

    The structure of this learning experience is perfect. If it were more conventional I wouldn't be taking this short detour. But it's something I really feel that I need to do.

    I must say, the stuff that I am doing at  RadioBack is not designed for reader entertainment. I would be thrilled if anyone here found it useful in generating ideas for their own journey, but the audience that I am writing for is one, me. I am not actively promoting it from any of my other sites either.

    My detour begins here.

    on April 15, 2012, 9:55 a.m.

    AJC said:

    I'm enjoying your blog, Dave. Keep sharing your posts with us in any task where it feels relevant or use the wall ("discussions" button next to "tasks") and share away!

    on April 15, 2012, 4:57 p.m. in reply to Dave Rothacker
  • Anonym said:

    Right now, the next thing I wanna do is practice PHP -Web developement- , or Start iOS (switch to mobile sites/apps),

    In want to make way to be an UX expert - good with UI, typography - .

    This very moment I want my focus for my blog writing - regularity, user base -.

    on April 10, 2012, 7:05 a.m.

    LBCarfagna said:

    Hey Nabeel - check out Corbin's post in the next task.  He has a great plan for focusing his blogging and creating a "space" for the work he's doing.  Great work!

    on April 11, 2012, 3:44 p.m. in reply to Anonym

    Anonym said:

    I appreciate your response, thanks.

    Sure I 'll check ot out.

    on April 12, 2012, 6:39 a.m. in reply to LBCarfagna
  • Almudena said:

    This is my personal learning plan:
    1. GOALS
    • To understand the process to develop a website
    • To be able to build a nice website, not to complex but functional and useful
    • To know how an IOS app works and how make one
    • "WEBCRAFT" (P2PU)

              - Inter Act:

              - Dev Central:

              - SourceForge:
              - Free Code:
              - Html Dog:
    • VIDEOS  

               - Film: The Summer of love



             - OpenStudY
             - Quora
             - Twitter:
             - Wikianswers 
             - Yahoo! Answers 
    • To develop my personal website
     5. TIMING  
        2 weeks to study both courses and start planing the website
        3 weeks to have a good understanding of web development
        1 month to have a first draft of the website 
    If anyone have any suggestion they will be more than welcome!
    on April 3, 2012, 2:39 p.m.
  • dilys said:


    What's your starting point?

    I got it started with the online shop but getting started is easy getting to the next step is hard. How do I make something so simple, and something so basic good?

    What are the learning steps you path requires?

    Materials: Good magazine, social media, articles, NYTimes, social change courses

    Courses: online courses and contents about ecommerce, and online marketing

    Mentors: in desperate need of business mentors who still support traditional startups. All attention is on tech.

    Set milestones and be specific

    week - figure out tax :-) 

    month - figure out the next "release" of the webstore

    months- figure out the strategy, innovation, figure out our unique products

    year - technical skills

    What are the experiences you want to pursue as part of your learning?

    working with a mentor will be the most valuable

    on March 29, 2012, 2:55 a.m.
  • Rohit.Vashisht said:

    I found the ArsDigita University Computer Science curriculum to be a good starting point, however the video lectures are too outdated in content (2000). The curriculum is available at the ArsDigita website and is based on the ACM's model.

    The Course List:

    Calculus I and Linear algebra

    Computer programs

    Discrete Mathematics

    Computer Organization or Design




    Web Applications

    Theory of Computation


    Unix Workshop




    Either One Course at a Time with 4 weeks a Course or 4 Courses at a time for about 4 months.

    1st Milestone: PreCalculus Review and Test by 15th March.

    on March 3, 2012, 9:03 p.m.
  • Maria said:


    Overall Goal: Master The German Language
    Starting point: 20-year-old homeschool graduate. Work experience includes newspaper rolling, movie critic, babysitter, and VBS preschool volunteer. Intermediate German. Currently working via internet with native German speakers. Uses bussu and quizlet as resources. Regularly reads Der Spiegel and PromiFlash. Currently reading "Alice's Abenteuer im Wunderland". Plans on reading sometime in the future "Die Verwandlung" and "Der Zauberberg". Occasionally translates German youtube videos into English for users. 
    Steps Required:
    - Take a teaching course
    - Keep studying the German language
    - Work on translating German into English
    - Make more connections with native German speakers
    - Study the history, art, and culture in and surrounding Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
    - Continue reading German language literature
    - Read more English classics
    - Maybe study linguistics a bit
    - Keep sending sentences and paragraphs for review to my German contacts on a weekly basis.
    - Finish "Alice" in March and start on "Die Verwandlung"
    - Listen more regularly to "Grimm's Maerchen" to improve my listening skills next month
    - Work on translating a German video into English at least twice a month
    web translations, interpreting, teaching English to either German-speaking adults or young German-speaking children over Skype, teaching English by freelancing in a German speaking country, teaching German basics to English-speaking children in person or over Skype. Maybe concentrate on helping homeschoolers. 
    on Feb. 24, 2012, 11:35 a.m.

    Leah MacVie said:

    Awesome  goal here, Maria. I'm currently completing a quest of speaking Spanish/learning more about the Spanish culture. 

    You may find some inspiration or valuable resources on my blog: Most of the language learning resources I've found have German in their series. Good luck!

    on Feb. 26, 2012, 11:58 a.m. in reply to Maria

    AJC said:

    This is a great plan. Which of these steps do you think you'll prioritize? Maybe build a timeline for yourself to get things done by certain dates.

    on Feb. 29, 2012, 8:31 p.m. in reply to Maria

    Maria said:

    Great blog, I've bookmarked it! :)

    on March 4, 2012, 10:55 p.m. in reply to Leah MacVie

    Maria said:

    Getting to Advanced Level German is the most important. I hope to accomplish that by the end of this year, preferably by September. Continuing to review a German Grammar book I have, writing paragraphs and sentences to be corrected by native speakers, learning new vocabulary, reading (aloud) German litarature, and listening to as much German as I can are the supports to get me there. This is my main priority. 

    on March 4, 2012, 10:58 p.m. in reply to AJC

    Kate the Adventurer said:

    Have you tried I have found it very useful for learning French and Russian.

    There are interactive lessons and coaching from native speakers. It is mostly free, but you can earn the extra paid lessons by helping people learn your native tongue.

    on July 8, 2012, 5:15 p.m. in reply to Maria
  • Johnny McKenzie said:

    Overall goal: "Become a web developer" (or something like that)


    My starting point:

    - Can code in python, lua and PHP

    - Can develop very basic web apps with PHP

    - Can plan and design websites fluently

    - Passionate about computer science


    Steps Required:

    - Learn more about how websites work (protocols, etc. )

    - Aquire Development skills (planning, implementation)

    - Aquire Tool Skills (Django, MVC, OOP, git)


    Desired Experiences:

    - Create a web application that people will use

    - Work with mentors

    - *possibly* internship



    -Learning about how the web works: I'll give myself about 2 weeks to learn the basics.

    - Learning about the planning process: Again, 2 weeks should do it.

    - Aquire toolset: I'll give myself a week to learn some basic git and 3 weeks to get the basics of Django down.

    on Feb. 23, 2012, 4:03 a.m.

    AJC said:

    This is a great start. Looks like you've already participated in some webcraft and programming courses. The next logical step, it seems, is to create a space to store the things that you make as you learn -> Task 4.

    on Feb. 23, 2012, 1:08 p.m. in reply to Johnny McKenzie
  • Charles Thomas said:

    ·         My starting point

    o   I’m a 41 year old “retired” electrician.  I graduated from Hillsborough Community College in the spring of 2011 with my associate in arts degree!  Yea, me!  I attended online classes at Saint Leo University till I realized that college online education sucked… therefor, I am transferring to the University of North Florida this summer.  I hope to rejoin the workforce with a computer information systems degree.  Wish me luck!  Till, that time I plan on expanding my education in preparation for my upcoming classes. 

    ·         Milestones

    o   With this in mind, I will work through the webcraft challenge series, one challenge per week.

    ·         Experiences

    o   I would like to work with a mentor, several mentors really, as not everyone jells despite a common goal.

    ·         Time period till completion

    o   It appears from a casual observation that I should complete this series of exercises in seven weeks.


    on Feb. 22, 2012, 10:05 a.m.

    LBCarfagna said:

    Great plan Charles - using the webcraft challenges as milestones are a great way to organize your plan.  Any thoughts on what you might be looking for in a mentor/mentors?  

    on March 10, 2012, 6:09 p.m. in reply to Charles Thomas
  • Corbin Tarrant said:

    Narrowing it down is the hard part, but the real skill is being able to apply this to learning tasks over and over again. My plan is to look into open learning software and identify one of particular interest to me. I will definitely be checking out lernanta (thanks for the suggestion Alison). The steps I will need to take will be familiarizing myself with the code, learning any APIs or languages I am not familiar with, and then contributing to the code. The milestone for this learning task will be the act of contributing quality code to a project and having it accepted. The experiences I would like to have during this is learning to better work with peers on software and learning to network with people over the internet more efficiently. I have also actually starting to use my website at and put up some blog posts for Webmaking 101. I also set up a credentials page to help keep me inspired to add to the list of learning achievements. I plan to document my learning process on the blog and use it as incentive for writing articles about things I am learning.


    Edit: I also just found the Introduction to Contributing to Lernanta ( ) Course so I'll be checking that out. Looking closer I see that I need to learn Python and found this course to start on that task ( )

    on Feb. 21, 2012, 6:14 p.m.

    AJC said:

    You beat me to it! As I read your reply I thought "I should have given him the link to Contributing to Lernanta:

    This goes for all others in this group who are looking for a chance to get involved with coding. Lernanta is built with django, which I believe has a foundation of python. (I'm about to expose myself as a non-programmer!!) Anyway, check it out!

    on Feb. 22, 2012, 6:50 p.m. in reply to Corbin Tarrant

    Corbin Tarrant said:

    While working on better defining and organizing my open learning plans I stumbled onto a variety of mind mapping tools. Here is a site that compares a bunch of different ones: . I'm trying out the Mind42 one right now: and this looks like an excellent tool for open curriculum creation and general open learning organization.

    on Feb. 22, 2012, 11:13 p.m. in reply to AJC

    AJC said:

    It's a great tool - I've seen many groups create a collaborative syllabus for their peer-to-peer courses with it! Ex:

    on Feb. 22, 2012, 11:43 p.m. in reply to Corbin Tarrant

    Corbin Tarrant said:

    Here is what I have so far in creating an open curriculum for myself, and even more importantly developing a system that I can use to better organize and get tasks completed. . Next I will be working on an Open Learning Resources mindmap to map the world of open learning out as a fun and useful exercise.

    on Feb. 23, 2012, 12:14 a.m. in reply to AJC

    AJC said:

    That's amazing.

    on Feb. 23, 2012, 12:46 a.m. in reply to Corbin Tarrant

    Leah MacVie said:

    Mind 42 is great, so is, but I just use Google Drawing (which can be used nicely as a mind map) so that the drawings/mindmaps go directly into my Google Docs.

    on Feb. 23, 2012, 1:29 p.m. in reply to Corbin Tarrant
  • Leah MacVie said:

    The problem is trying to narrow this down, isn't it? So much to do, so little time...

    Get involved in the the open badge community by:

    • joining and participate in the Google group, 
    • getting connected with companies like Badgestack,
    • reading related books and articles, 
    • blogging as a means of documenting my learning, and
    • starting conversations about badges on Twitter and FB.

    I would also like to develop a 'final project' of some sort at the end of the 'semester'. I was thinking a guide that would help organizations (schools, companies) see how they could utilize the open badge system. What do you think?

    on Feb. 6, 2012, 11:02 p.m.

    AJC said:

    This is a great plan. Perhaps you could even get your college to lead a few open courses and offer badges. Would anyone on the faculty be open?

    Also - what if some of the students led courses that offered badges? At UC Berkeley students have their own peer-led school ( but they haven't tied into an open badges system because they use the internal Berkeley credit system.

    on Feb. 7, 2012, 12:33 p.m. in reply to Leah MacVie

    Leah MacVie said:

    Alison- Believe it or not, I've proposed a course like this before and it didn't get that far. I think because although I have a bit of teeth in my position, I don't have the credentials on paper to teach a course (Ph.D.). Also, standards have gotten so tough that students don't really have time anymore for electives- which is what this course would be. There are also a lot of layers to get through when proposing a course. It's easy to see why setting up a course on a a site like P2PU or Udemy more easily allows instructors to get straight to the students....

    Now this doesn't mean that an existing course's delivery couldn't be modified. I could even co-teach a class that introduced more open materials and utilized a badge system. This might be a better way to go. 

    I have never heard of DeCal before. This is such an awesome concept! But once again...I wouldn't be able to be involved in this if my school followed the same rules. It's funny that I teach faculty...but because I'm not faculty, I wouldn't be able to sponsor one of these student'led classes. 

    Thanks for the reply- you are keeping me thinking!

    on Feb. 11, 2012, 1:03 p.m. in reply to AJC

    AJC said:

    Leah - you have a very storng understanding of some of the obstacles in higher ed for DIY learning opportunities - I would like more people to read about your thoughts. Would you be willing to write a guest entry on the P2PU blog about your work and some of your goals? You could keep it short and sweet. Just a few paragraphs would do!

    on Feb. 13, 2012, 4:54 p.m. in reply to Leah MacVie

    Leah MacVie said:

    What an offer! Of course, Alison. Just send me the info and I'll cook something up. Thanks for the opportunity.

    on Feb. 14, 2012, 7:36 a.m. in reply to AJC

    AJC said:

    Perhaps you could write a short piece on your work in higher Ed and what obstacles led to your interest in P2PU (and feel free to list other similar DIY projects).

    on Feb. 15, 2012, 9:52 p.m. in reply to Leah MacVie

    Leah MacVie said:

    Oh sure- I'll work something up...and then submit it to you? Or should I submit it some other way? 

    on Feb. 17, 2012, 7:57 a.m. in reply to AJC

    AJC said:

    Send it right to me!

    on Feb. 20, 2012, 5:28 p.m. in reply to Leah MacVie

    Leah MacVie said:

    Just popped it into your inbox. :)

    on Feb. 26, 2012, 11:54 a.m. in reply to AJC
  • AJC said:

    I've been working on my plan for a long time. I know that the next big steps for me are to:

    1. Learn design princpals
    2. Get an apprenticeship with architects/engineers/hippies
    3. Build a portfolio to show this work!
    on Feb. 1, 2012, 1:27 a.m.