Whole Learning Challenge

For the past week or so, my wife and I have been participating in the Whole Life Challenge.

The Whole Life Challenge is an 8-week online, community-building, habit-changing game that challenges you and your friends to create happier, healthier lives by making small, daily changes.  Playing with your friends and family, you’ll score points every day, focusing on 7 key areas of health and well-being: Nutrition, Exercise, Mobility, Supplementation, Hydration, Lifestyle Practices, and Reflection.


This sort of thing is not something that usually floats my boat but my wife participated in the last one a few months back and it really helped to establish some good daily habits.  After seeing the great effect it had on her and her willingness to participate in the next one, I thought I would thumb along for the ride.  So what exactly is required?  Each day I need to do the following

  • 20 minutes of exercise
  • Eat the right foods (I’m on the Kickstarter game, food list here)
  • Drink at least 1.8L of water
  • Stretch for 10 minutes
  • Take a supplement (I’ve chosen Vitamin D)
  • Complete the weekly challenge (Week 1 was 10 minutes of meditation)
  • Write a daily reflection

At the end of the day, I submit my daily score online and complete my reflection.  The challenge is a group challenge and as it is a game, your score is recorded and ranked against everyone else in your team.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 9.06.29 PM

Before the challenge, stretching and meditation were two things that did not feature in my life EVER.  As you can see from my scorecard, they have featured every day.  Now it is only early days in the challenge but the two areas that I thought I would struggle with are in fact the two areas I enjoy the most.  The daily mindfulness session with the Headspace app is an amazing way to start the day and the stretching at the end of the day really has helped with some old man niggles.  Looking at the structure of the challenge, I am left wondering why it is working for so many people (over 79,294 people).  Is it the game?  Is it because the time commitment for each component is small and achievable?  The key to the challenge is building good habits through daily practice.

I then started to think about how this structure could be applied to learners.  What if we could change our habits as learners or the habits of others as learners?  What would we change?  Why?  My first thoughts jumped to Professor Guy Claxton and Building Learning Power.  Could we build a daily learning habit challenge from the four Rs (Reciprocity, Resourcefulness, Resilience and Reflectiveness)?


It might look like the following:

  • Resilience: Managing distractions – Using the pomodoro technique to improve focus
  • Resourcefulness: Making links – Reading a blog post/reading/book and making links to current practice
  • Reflectiveness: Revising – A 30 second video diary at the end of your teaching day
  • Reciprocity: Collaboration – Participating in a Twitter chat

Maybe it could be based on the Thinking routines from Harvard’s Project Zero (Check out Cam Patterson’s great post on this here).

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 9.46.25 PMGreat initiatives like #vicpln (Check out the course here) are already assisting teachers to develop great personal learning networks but I’m wondering if there is anything out there that is assisting teacher learners to develop great learning habits.  I know that there are areas that I need to grow in.  Could these be improved by a shift in daily practice?  I’m seeing the results for themselves at the moment in regards to my personal health and wellbeing and I think that we could get something similar started to assist all learners to develop  great learning health.

Thanks for reading and as always, comments welcome!




2 thoughts on “Whole Learning Challenge

Add yours

  1. Steve,
    You offer up an interesting idea that could be a vibrant model for developing us as teachers. I think the emphasis on habits rather than just skills or knowledge could enhance a teacher’s abilities greatly. Using this model for students could be powerful, too, as it can be hard for them to be reflective and develop their habits. Having a structure would help teachers help their students in thinking about their learning.

    1. Thanks Jim, I do wonder about the habits that would be contained in the challenge. Daily reading, curation around a topics, professional conversations, personal learning challenge. The Whole Life challenge is a two month campaign and one month in has shifted a few key areas for me. Now the telling sign will be if I’m still following through in some areas after the challenge but I’m optimistic that I will. Thanks for taking the time to connect, much appreciated.

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