The PEP program is a framework for people to learn stuff. But it is not a framework for people to learn stuff.
Yes, I just stated the opposite thing.
PEP is a framework for clearly documenting what you have learned. In a way that leans on modern technology (phones with cameras and the internet) and impresses "Otis."
PEP is not a framework for telling you HOW to do each thing. Or what you need to learn to do a job well. It does not document you watching 47 youtube videos to learn how to make soup. Nor does it document you spending two years at the Cordon Bleau school in paris to learn how to make soup. Nor does it document you trying to make soup freestyle - wild ass guessing (I bet it could use more salt!).
When you are wildcrafting, YOU need to know what you are doing. It is up to YOU to harvest the right thing. We make the PEP program free because you are taking the time to teach yourself. We offer a framework to document what you have accomplished. But this framework does not include the means to teach you the difference between an edible food plant and a toxic plant.
The PEP framework is about documenting what you have done. If you want to accomplish a badge, then you will need to learn those things that lead to that badge. In that sense, the PEP framework offers motivation and reward. But the education on how to get there is up to you. Some people learn through youtube videos, and some people learn through classes. Some people learn through podcasts and others through articles or books. Some people can teach themselves. Some people already know this stuff, and the PEP framework will simply be a way for them to demonstrate what they already know. There are thousands of possible paths to getting any one badge.
I consider this approach *extremely* important in today's society. Too many skills that used to be considered "basic" have been lost to much of our population, and that includes the skills of independent learning and problem solving. School is much more about spoon-feeding students, and students have become dependent on the internet to give them everything they need to know without having to puzzle things out, learn by integrating info from several sources, and particularly, actually doing hands-on activities rather than spouting theory.
Despite what you've said above, what I've had time to look at in the badge system has what I like to call "scaffolding". Most people don't learn a new skill by jumping in the deep end, but rather through accomplishing a series of increasingly difficult but related tasks that help build both skills and confidence.
I also firmly support the concept of people using the PEP program to "prove to the world" they have skills that the general population not only doesn't have, but currently doesn't care about. That said, I would like to encourage that group of people to try fulfilling a task that fits the PEP criteria by doing something a bit beyond their usual. To use Paul's soup example, for those of us who make soup regularly, consider choosing a recipe you've never made before, or that includes some foraged ingredients that you've never cooked before, just to keep with the spirit of the program! ;-)