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Global Network of Experiential Learning Educators

Join us: #NUNExT Summit for Digital Commons: A Virtual Pop Up Event – January 31

Mobilizing and supporting the experiential learning movement

Northeastern University’s NExT serves as a platform for illuminating and connecting kindergarten-12th grade (K-12), higher education, industry, and community partner nodes in a global network to explore and scale the next generation of high-impact experiential educational offerings.

NExT Mission

One bold mission. Endless experiential learning opportunities

The Mission

Our mission is to elevate experiential learning and make it accessible to every learner in the country. To do this, we are bringing teachers and administrators together to share their bold ideas and visions on how to leverage experiential learning to transform schools, districts, educational systems, and broaden opportunities for educators and students at all levels.

Building on our reputation as the leader in experiential higher education, Northeastern is convening K-12 educators to generate an action-oriented network of experiential learning practitioners and leaders. The NExT network’s shared goal is to unleash individual learners’ talents and passions through experiential learning across a lifetime and in a variety of settings. We believe that the most innovative educational solutions and opportunities to transform traditional education will develop out of a diverse learning ecosystem that cuts across boundaries—of geography, grade level, learning site, or subject discipline. The secret ingredient is collaboration: our ability to create our own experiential opportunities to work and learn together about what it will take to sustain and grow the movement. In joining the NExT network, participants bridge the divide between K-12, higher education, and workplaces—and they do this by lifting barriers, by enabling transformative learning for more students, and by recognizing and celebrating experiential opportunities across all levels and settings.

NExT began with an inaugural institute last summer at Northeastern, but it has surged forward since with a national series of salons that convened educator networks—sponsored by leaders in the Chicago Public Schools, Barrington, Rhode Island Public Schools, the CAPS Network, Iowa BIG, and many more. NExT has evolved from a Northeastern initiative to a true, collective network of passionate, diverse stakeholders.

NExT has two primary objectives:

  • To support educators and educational leaders across the world in their pursuit of experiential learning for the benefit of their students and their communities, and
  • To connect educators and leaders across regions and roles so that they can (1) gain inspiration from a community, and (2) learn with, and from, one another as they pursue their initiatives.

In addition to these two primary goals, we support educators as they document the outcomes of experiential learning in their communities, connect educators as members of a global learning community of discovery, and identify how experiential learning can both enhance student engagement and deepen student learning.

Now what?

We, as a network, are creating fuel for classrooms, schools, districts, and initiatives, through multiple pathways and opportunities to connect:


Convenings of different types, driven by the network’s energy and needs, to bring interested parties together to share visions and practices that can support the individual and shared pursuit of experiential learning across communities.


From non-credit workshops to badges to PDP (professional development points) bearing learning opportunities to full Masters and Doctoral degrees, we support and leverage the full suite of Northeastern’s educational resources to support the rigorous practice and scholarship of experiential learning.


Through project-based assessment and research partnerships, we support the mutual discovery of the experiential learning impact on individuals, industry, and our communities. As a research institution, we serve others’ inquiry of experiential learning through partnerships and shared discovery.

Where do we start?

To learn more or to participate, please email us at


Turning experiential learning ideas into action

The NExT 2.0 Summer Convening

This summer, we are inviting over 200 educators from across the United States and Canada to join us for the second summer to share their experiential learning endeavors to date, to further nucleate and incubate their experiential learning pursuits, and to connect across sector and stakeholder roles. To learn more or to participate, please email us at

At the Convening

Experiential learning educators opening doors, not just minds.

At this year’s Convening, participants will:

  • INSPIRE & LEARN – Participants will see how last year’s participants brought their ideas to life in their communities, get the basics of experiential learning theory, and learn more about how experiential learning enhances and deepens student life at Northeastern.
  • LEARN & CONNECT–Develop individual or group-level plans for pursuing or expanding experiential learning in context-specific communities (classroom, school, school system, or program), engage feedback loops, and learn best practices from the network.
  • CONNECT & CREATE—Explore ways and means for documenting and evidencing the outcomes of experiential learning pursuits in context; explore ways of forging pathways from experiential K-12 to further learning and employment opportunities.
  • CREATE & MOBILIZE–Create experiential learning partnerships across network members to advance and enhance experiential learning pursuits within and beyond individual communities.

We support these outcomes through experiential presentations, workshops, and working sessions with our past participants, network leaders, faculty and staff at Northeastern, and an array of allies to the movement. Many of the sessions will also focus on actionable plans for the coming year to pursue and deepen experiential learning practices – whether that is in the classroom, in a school, in a district/ system, an organization, or as part of a network. We leverage hackathons, poster sessions, intimate facilitated working teams, and shared experiences to make the event impactful, timely, and memorable.

In addition, participants connect with others around their practices to inform thinking and planning. And there will be multiple opportunities to consider collaborating and partnering on network or regional efforts over the course of the year.

In the end, each participant will leave with material, relationships, and plans immediately translatable to day-to-day work in home organizations and communities.

Women viewing a poster at a NExT event

Experiential learning educators opening doors, not just minds.


Meet some of Northeastern's Graduate School of Education faculty and administrators who will be leading the NExT Initiative

Mary Loeffelholz

Mary Loeffelholz - Dean, Northeastern University College of Professional Studies and Vice President, Lifelong Learning Network

The mission of Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies is to provide lifelong experiential learning that unleashes the capacities of aspiring individuals in all stages and walks of life. We meet learners where they are with programs that break down boundaries between work and learning, connect students with employers, and foster inclusive prosperity in every community we touch.

As dean, I have encouraged the creation of knowledge networks such as NExT as a transformational model in kindergarten-12th grade (K-12) education. NExT and the other knowledge networks we are building are global communities of learners and practitioners, wherever they are located—whether in industry, in government and the public sphere, in K-12 and higher education, in social entrepreneurship—that continuously circulate knowledge and know-how from the worlds of research and practice, and that use the extended network as a basis for innovation and discovery of new knowledge.

Philly Mantella

Philly Mantella - Senior Vice President of Enrollment and Student Life & CEO of the Lifelong Learning Network at Northeastern University

I am inspired by the promise of experiential learning across the lifespan of all learners and specifically by NExT as a networked catalyst to making new, impactful forms of education available to more students. We are in a time of great change and disruption in education, so new solutions are needed. Our goal is for every student to be well positioned for a lifetime of growth, discovery and learning. Throughout my 30 years in higher education administration, I have focused on driving innovative, sustainable, scalable business and programmatic development within mission-driven, high-impact frameworks that are responsive to both sides of the educational market: learners and employers.

At Northeastern our mission is guided by and infused with an experiential approach to education, blurring the lines between work and learning through innovative approaches to industry engagement and new offerings to meet the growing and ever-changing needs of today’s (and the future’s) learners.

Lydia Young

Lydia Young - Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Education

As the Associate Dean in the Graduate School of Education at Northeastern University, and a former middle & high school English teacher, I envision NExT as the next step in education – combining academics & deeply embedded experiential learning opportunities for educators, regardless of context & systemic barriers. This allows equity gaps to be directly addressed by school & teacher leaders who join NExT as scholar-practitioners & change agents. NExT will link educators from across the globe as they document learning, connect scholars and practitioners, and impact learning as we develop a lexicon of experiential education. This opportunity brings together the foundational beliefs within the Graduate School of Education that educators are change agents, that documenting learning develops scholar-practitioners, and the vision of the Professional Advancement Network that learning is co-constructed and meaningful when it is just in time & just for you.

Kelly Conn

Kelly Conn - Graduate School of Education Faculty Member

I hope to bring my knowledge of STEM, research methods, and proposal development to help facilitate the design, implementation, and documentation of the many different ways in which K-12 educators from across many different contexts are inspiring and empowering their students to engage in quality experiential learning opportunities that both foster deeper learning and engagement.

Rashid Mosley

Rashid Mosley - Graduate School of Education Faculty Member

As a self-proclaimed lifelong learner, I have spent most of my career navigating the field of education and its partner in the not-for-profit world. As a community-based practitioner, I have held several leadership positions with internationally recognized nonprofits. In my previous roles, I have served as the internal organization change agent responsible for leading change management initiatives and I’m excited to bring that experience to bear with our NExT partners, as well as help deepen our network linkages with industry going forward.

Kim Nolan

Kim Nolan - Graduate School of Education Faculty Member

My work as a K-12 science educator and administrator working in alternative schools gives me the background to work with K-12 educators to create powerful learning experiences. My focus is on helping educators create a space where students are empowered to direct their own learning.

Corliss Thompson

Corliss Thompson - Graduate School of Education Faculty Member

As a former elementary teacher and current teacher of graduate students, I believe that tapping into the lives of students and the world around them creates a powerful learning experience. And through my NExT initiative, I will focus on research and program evaluation—helping educators engage in experiential learning at the highest level.

Chris Unger

Chris Unger - Graduate School of Education Faculty Member

My primary interest is in supporting educators to think about how they can redesign their learning environments to make their students' learning far more meaningful, relevant, personally engaging, and of value. My areas of expertise include innovation and entrepreneurial activity in schools and school systems, innovative school designs, and student-centered, self-directed learning. In the NExT initiative I hope to contribute to educators' exploration and pursuit of experiential learning as a means for significantly increasing student engagement and deepening their learning.

NExT in the News

Our initiatives are making headlines

Developing the Whole Child One Collaboration at a Time | November 21, 2018
Barrington schools are home to some of the most forward-thinking educators in our country. Several years back Northeastern’s NExT initiative inspired the Barrington district to make the leap towards experiential learning and the results have been staggering.

The Need for Revolutionary Networks | August 19, 2018
At Northeastern University, we have decided to join in the revolution for more student-centered, personalized, and impactful learning for all students in K-12 through a developing network of experiential learning educators we call NExT.

Don’t Call it a Moment; Experimental Learning is a Movement

News@Northeastern | July 26, 2018
In the late 2000s, educators in Iowa were challenged to reinvent high school in Cedar Rapids. Perhaps it was a peculiar request, given that all three of the district’s high schools have graduation rates near the 90th percentile.

Building the Future of K-12, Here at Northeastern

News@Northeastern | July 20, 2018
Sixth-graders at Barrington Middle School in Rhode Island imagined a room in what will become the new Barrington Middle School, currently under construction.

JFF Horizons: Building New Bridges to the Future of Work and Learning | June 18, 2018
Last week I attended JFF (Jobs for the Future) Horizons, a conference that served as a powerful reminder that we won’t be able to prepare our students for the rapidly changing world and technologies like AI if our education, policy, and private sector systems continue operating in silos.

School Models: Pick Your Favorite Flavor | June 12, 2018
There is quite a buzz right now in the K-12 world around models of learning that focus on providing students with relevant experiences.

Sketchbooks. Makerspaces. Student Startups. Inside America’s Largest Personalized Learning Experiment, How One Rhode Island ‘Lighthouse Laboratory’ Is Reimagining School | May 1, 2018
It was the silence that made technology teacher Rebecca Henderson look up. Moments before, her sixth-graders had been giggling over two robots, which they’d nicknamed WALL-E and Eve, from the popular Pixar movie. But now, they were huddled in a circle, whispering.

Northeastern Launches Initiative to Bring Experiential Learning to K-12 Classrooms

News@Northeastern | July 10, 2017
Building upon its global leadership in experiential learning in higher education, Northeastern University is launching a first-of-its-kind initiative to introduce this successful model to the K-12 education system.

Participants listening to a talk about NExT

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