Human Venture Foundations

An introductory course for transforming how we understand and tackle systemic challenges by learning about the human story across disciplines and cultures.

At a Glance

Human Venture Foundations Class

For the full participatory experience, take the 5-month in-person (or remote) class to learn the foundational concepts of Human Learning Ecology together with facilitators Elizabeth Dozois and Mark Hopkins.

Date Opening Retreat Jan 19-20, 2024 followed by monthly classes ending May 25th, 2024. See course schedule here.
Location Calgary or Edmonton or Remotely through Zoom
Investment Flexible
Registration Register here by Jan 12, 2024

Human Venture Foundations Audio Course

If you don't have time to attend in-class, sign-up to receive the course as a podcast. Listen to Human Learning Ecology presentations by Elizabeth Dozois and Mark Hopkins and other bonus content through regular episodes with host Chris Hsiung.

Date First episode of course to be released March 2024
Investment Flexible
Registration Register here

Course Description

Human Venture Foundations is a course, presented by long time Associates Elizabeth Dozois and Mark Hopkins, designed to give you a foundational understanding of Human Learning Ecology, a new cross-disciplinary field of study on how human beings, from individuals to civilizations, learn or fail to learn. You will be able to take the course as an in-person / remote 5-month course or through a podcast series.

Through the exploration of a wide range of human endeavours - engineering, military strategy, science, forensics, epidemiology, ethics, education, politics, and more - you will gain insight into the root causes of a diversity of issues and how they might be addressed. For example:

  • What shapes how we understand climate change and why is denial and avoidance a common response?  
  • What are the limitations of schooling in preparing students for life?
  • What capacities have allowed us to create world-altering technology?
  • What is the role of our culture in how we think, act and care?
  • What does it mean to be alive and human in our time and place in history?

Underlying each of these questions are principles of how human beings perceive, interpret and act on the world. Learn what these principles are, how they function and interact, as well as their application to your own thinking. Be prepared to explore widely, engage in challenging deep conversations, and develop the stamina for life-long learning. If this excites you, then don't hesitate to register and join our community of explorers. 

If you have any questions, please contact us directly at

We are human 'becomings,' not human beings because our species is young and we are still shaping it.
Ken Low

Want to learn a bit more about the course before you register? Watch our info session about the course:

Introduction to Human Learn Ecology
Click Here for Recording

Register for In-Person Course or Podcast

Reasons to take the Course


Explore examples of human intelligence and folly from a broad range of domains throughout history and across cultures, including engineering, military strategy, science, ethics, education, politics, and much, much more. 

Connect with others who are also invested in how we contribute to the human journey. Tackling systemic challenges takes a mutual learning community that isn't always conventionally available.
Revisit Ken Low's work in a new and improved way to develop a foundational understanding of Human Learning Ecology that you can apply in your own life engagements.
Nurture the quality of your thinking, caring, and acting through exploring the human story. Delve deeper into what it would take to live up to our namesake: homo sapiens, wise person.
While frameworks are helpful for thinking about complex subjects, this course will provide tools for assessing frameworks and orienting us in an increasingly fractious informationscape.
Investigate what the transcendent or largest frame of life means and how it impacts how we think, care and act. Set aside time to delve into the big picture.

    Take Course In-Person or Remotely

    It's time to get together in-person again and connect. This five-month program, co-facilitated by Elizabeth Dozois and Mark Hopkins, starts with a two-day in-person Opening Retreat on Jan 19-20, 2024 in Red Deer followed by monthly Learning Days on Saturdays held in Calgary and Edmonton then ending with a Closing Retreat on May 25, 2024. See schedule here. Classes typically consist of presentations, facilitated discussions, activities and reflection. Participants will also participate in Learning Circles, smaller groups that connect regularly to explore and learn together. These groups will be facilitated by a guide, and provide support for the marathon that is life-long learning. For the first time, remote in-class attendance will be possible from other locations. There will also be a handful of online “touchpoints” between certain learning days.

    In-Person Class (Calgary or Edmonton Only)

    For the full participatory experience of learning together in-person with facilitators Elizabeth Dozois and Mark Hopkins

    Attend Remotely

    Participate in-class remotely through Zoom from anywhere you have good internet. 

    Take Course via Podcast

    For those that cannot commit to the in-class time requirements, participants can sign-up to receive the course via podcast. Listen on your favourite podcast app to course presentations by Elizabeth Dozois and Mark Hopkins at your own leisure through regular episodes with host Chris Hsiung. Interviews with special guests and bonus content will also be released throughout the season.

    The Investment

    The human venture requires as many people as possible invested in our collective journey. We want to make this course accessible to everyone. When registering for this course, you will be able to choose how much to pay for it depending on what is right for you and your situation. If you are keen to connect with the human story, we would love to have you regardless of how much you can pay. If you can afford the suggested rate or more, then this will go a long way to supporting our organization.

    In-Person Class
    Includes a two-day overnight opening retreat, six full day in-class sessions, two mini online sessions, and a subscription to the podcast.

    Suggested Rate: $1950
    Your Rate: Flexible

    Remote Class
    Includes remote access to two-day opening retreat, six full day sessions, two mini online sessions, and a subscription to the podcast.

    Suggested Rate: $1350
    Your Rate: Flexible

    Podcast Only
    Includes regular episodes of course presentation, interviews, and bonus content delivered to your favourite podcast app.

    Suggested Rate: $600
    Your Rate: Flexible

    Funding through the Canada-Alberta Job Grant: Your employer may be eligible to have up to two-thirds of the cost of your registration in the Foundations program funded by the Government of Alberta. Read here for more information. Please note that applications for funding should be submitted at least 30 days before the starting date of the program.

    Elizabeth Dozois

    Lead Facilitator
    Elizabeth Dozois (Word on the Street Ltd.) is a Calgary-based consultant who provides strategic support, research, curriculum design, and facilitation to organisations in the non-profit and public sectors. She is currently working with the Calgary Police Service to enhance psychological safety, equity, inclusion, and belonging through an initiative called the Art of the Nudge. She is a Human Venture Institute (HVI) Associate and has been helping to deliver Human Venture leadership programs for almost two decades.

    Mark Hopkins


    Mark Hopkins (he/him) is a theatre artist with Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre, which generates productive discomfort through art-making. He volunteers with Kawalease Arab Canadian Theatre and the Centre for Newcomers, is a Fellow with the Energy Futures Lab, and founded We Should Know Each Other, a community-bridging initiative. He has spent the past decade involved in Human Venture programs including co-facilitating Integrity Leadership, an introductory program in partnership with the Alberta Network of Immigrant Women. Mark is currently a Human Venture Associate and a Human Venture Leadership board member.


    Chris Hsiung

    Podcast Producer
    Chris Hsiung is an engineer turned documentary filmmaker. He runs Hidden Story Productions, a company dedicated to using digital media to nurture a more compassionate, just, and intelligent society. Chris has produced award winning documentaries, museum exhibits, and multimedia cultural centres. Chris is a Human Venture Institute (HVI) Associate and has served in a variety of capacities as volunteer, program facilitator, and board member over the last two decades.

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