Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel

- Socrates -

Engines for Education is a nonprofit organization founded by Roger Schank, whose goal is to radically change our notions of school. At Engines for Education, we believe that we can replace boring and increasingly irrelevant schools with new exciting learning environments. We are attempting to change both what and how people learn. We seek to avoid traditional lecture-based formats and the usual classroom structures in favor of story-centered curricula that simulate real-life situations with meaningful goals that encourage students to explore their own interests with guidance from skilled mentors. Our theories and approaches are derived from Dr. Schank’s work at the Institute for the Learning Sciences, at Northwestern University.

Online, Mentored, Learn-by-Doing Courses for Schools at No Cost

We are seeking early-adopting schools or school systems to offer our high school level technology- and business-related courses to their students. These courses have been developed by faculty at top universities such as Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, and Yale. We are willing to license our courses at no cost to early adopters. So if you run a high school and would like your students to learn to program or to become entrepreneurs, this offer is for you.

These are realistic professional work experiences more than they are traditional courses. They cannot take up one fifth of the student's day. To offer them, you must restructure the school day for participating students.

Teaching by mentoring is at the heart of our pedagogy. We are willing to train teachers to become effective mentors. Teachers who need to improve their own technical knowledge and skills before mentoring students might also take the courses themselves under the guidance of our highly experienced mentors.

Review our catalog of courses for offerings currently available.

Contact for more information.

Our Story

Dr. Roger Schank has devoted his career to understanding how people think and learn. In the 1970’s, as chairman of the computer science department at Yale, he focused on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, figuring out how to get computers to "learn". Around this time something happened that changed his focus permanently-- his children went to school. When Roger looked at what they were doing in school, he was appalled. Continue reading…


Latest News

August, 2015

Data Analytics Academy

Data Analytics Academy is now open for enrollment! Data Analytics Academy uses XTOL's unique mentored simulation where you will learn data analytics through hands-on, real world problems. Courses start in mid-October, so head on over and learn more about our offerings.

September, 2013

XTOL University Update

The University of Monterrey in Mexico has signed an agreement with XTOL to offer its students XTOL's innovative, learn-by-doing courses where students develop real-world skills through practice and meaningful feedback. Learn more about the partnership by reading the University of Monterrey's Press Release.

The University of Texas at Austin's XTOL course offerings are now available through their Professional Development Center. Visit their site to see their full list of the offerings and get enrollment information.

The University of Maryland University College's XTOL course offerings are now open for enrollment.

August, 2013

XTOL Europe

XTOLCORP announces the launch of its European branch, located in Barcelona (Spain). XTOL Europe has signed a partnership agreement with the Open University of La Salle (UOLS) to jointly launch a complete suite of educational programs targeting three audiences:

  • Unemployed graduates, with no technological background, who want to start a career in software development or ecommerce.
  • Technology professionals who want to improve their skill in the leading edge fields of data mining, mobile application development or Internet security.
  • Technology professionals who aspire to transition to management positions.

Students have the options of earning master's degrees, first certifications in a field, and postgraduate diplomas (short courses).

For more information visit XTOL Europe's website.

June, 2013

Two top universities join the revolution!

Socratic Arts is thrilled to announce two new partnerships with leading universities to offer online experiential learning across a range of subjects. The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) will be offering non-credit courses designed and built by Socratic Arts, all of which employ our story-centered curriculum approach.

The University of Texas at Austin will offer courses for professionals through their Professional Development Center in a range of technical areas including data analytics, eCommerce, SEO, project management and financial analysis. UMUC will offer 25 new courses in the areas of technology and management.

The university courses are all learn-by-doing, and are mentored by experienced practitioners and teachers with whom students interact online. Unlike other online courses which frequently take the shape of videotaped lectures and online quizzes and tests, these groundbreaking courses put students in real-world scenarios, provide access to live mentors, and allow students to gain real-world skills they can put to immediate use.

For more information on the courses we've built, visit XTOL Corp.

To talk to us about offering our courses at your university, contact Socratic Arts.

March, 2012


Socratic Arts announces the formation of a new company called XTOL (Experiential Teaching On Line.) XTOL will build on line masters degree programs that will be offered by well known universities. The programs will prepare students for real, existing jobs through a team based, learn by doing approach that will develop real world skills. The programs will be designed by real world practitioners, not theoreticians.

Read more about XTOL, Socratic Arts' experience building Masters programs, and the degrees currently being considered for development.

May, 2011

Alternative Learning Places

We're proposing to re-design and replace school with what we are calling Alternative Learning Places (ALP). What will the alternative look like? Kids working in teams on projects that they're interested in, with goals they care about (building a robot that does something, building a toothpick bridge that can hold weight, building a car that will win a race, telling another kid about where they live, forming a friendship with a kid in another country…) Kids practicing the skills they need for lifelong success in the real world- such as teamwork, goal conflict resolution, judgment, persuasion, management, and communication. The Alternative Learning Places will give parents and their children an alternative to our broken education system. Visit the Alternative Learning Places website for more information, or review the Alternative Learning Place brochure (PDF) for more information on our Engineering curriculum for 5-6 year olds.

May, 2011

BES at La Salle University

Engines for Education’s sister company, Socratic Arts, is partnering with the BES at La Salle University to provide online, Story-Centered Curriculum advanced degree programs in a variety of fields, such as Business, eBusiness, and Learning Sciences. For more information, visit the Socratic Arts BES La Salle homepage or watch the Cognitive Processes that Underlie Learning lecture that Roger Schank gave at La Salle University.

Career Choices

Use real-world experiences to make meaningful career choices

Three arrows pointing in different directions in front of a persons shoes

Engines for Education lets kids try on careers and see which ones fit. Thinking about a career in healthcare, technology or business? E4E has an experience for you. Learn more...

All there is to know about education today versus tomorrow:

Learn more...

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Welcome to the future of learning - the way it was always meant to be.

Courses start June 2017. Enroll today.

Education Outrage

Read about my experiences as an educational revolutionary at Education Outrage.

Visit the Education Outrage archive for older atricles.