Our approach to learning

  • Learning accelerates when body, mind, and emotions work together.
  • Adults have experience that they bring to the learning process,and want that to use it.
  • Adults are busy and often distracted; so learning must be immediately relevant.
  • Variety, movement, collaboration, and hands‐on activities bring engagement and joy to learning.
  • Participants create their own learning; they’re not simply consumers.
  • Learning and doing are interwoven.

There are five foundation pieces that undergird the eCurious theory and practice of adult and organizational learning.

Bloom’s New Taxonomy. Effective adult learning engages multiple levels of learning. Traditional training modules get stuck at Levels 1 or 2 of Bloom, but effective engagement requires learners to move up the ladder to higher-order learning. Learning outcomes targeted for effective and sustained change require activities intentionally designed for chosen levels of learning.

Dialogue Education. Learning experiences can range in quality from dismal to life-changing. Success arises from thorough application of adult learning practices, such as those developed by Jane Vella. These principles can be adapted to many settings, including combinations of eLearning, workshop and job site. Dialogue Education seeks a learning conversation between the learners, the instructors and the content. The principles include:

  • Respect the knowledge and experience that learners bring.
  • Treat learners as decision makers for their own learning.
  • Design relevance to learners’ work and life situations.
  • Create immediate opportunities to apply the learning.
  • Engage the full range of learning domains (Cognitive, Affective, & Psychomotor) and learning preferences (Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic) in the process.
  • Create safety for participants’ cultures, roles, persons.
  • Be inclusive of all participants’ identities, abilities, positions.
  • Practice co-accountability between learners and facilitators.
  • Provide opportunities for “praxis” education: input, action, reflection (Paulo Friere).

In this sense, Dialogue Education:

  • Is a principle-based approach, rather than driven by technique, requiring facilitators to interpret the principles for each unique learning environment.
  • Is learning-centered, rather than teacher or learner-centered. It builds an inviting, challenging learning space into which everyone leaps as co-learners.
  • Seeks first to understand the learning needs and resources needed for each setting, including assessing what experience, skills and knowledge learners are bringing.
  • Employs the Seven Steps of Learning design.
  • Builds ABOs – Achievement-Based Objectives that are immediate, observable and rigorous.
  • Applies the 4A Learning Cycle to facilitate participatory learning of new content, based on Kolb’s Cycle of Experiential Learning. Check out Dwayne Hodgson’s two learning cycles.

Accelerated Learning is possible and can be effective.  Accelerated learning can happen when the body, mind and emotions are in sync, in an environment that respects adult learning. Learning accelerates not by accident, but by careful design – by following the learning principles above, and by remembering that adults learn best when:

  • Their minds, bodies and emotions are engaged.
  • They are actively creating their own learning and knowledge.
  • They are collaborating with other learners.
  • Their learning is activity-centered, involves movement
  • Their learning is immediately relevant.
  • When their experience and skills are engaged by the learning.
  • When the learning focuses on results, not on performance or behaviour.
  • When they are presented a smorgasbord of options.

Blended Learning.  eLearning functions best as a component of a blended continuum of industry-leading adult learning options. Even the best eLearning is not the answer to every training need – only where it fits well on the learning continuum, there it is the answer. Building on Bloom, the blended learning model provides a framework for comprehensively integrated multiple delivery modes and learning activities for a given curriculum – including a mix of e-learning, face-to-face, training exercises, and coaching. Blended learning helps us to answer three critical questions:

  • What do we want to learn?
  •  How do we best learn it?
  • How do we draw a tight linkage to learners’ work and pace – and create “just in time/on demand” learning?  And redesign from “push” to “pull” training?

Facilitators are the heart of learning: All effective learning systems require excellent facilitation. And the best facilitators are multi-skilled role changers capable of adaptation to the requirements of each virtual and physical learning context. Core knowledge, competencies and experience are essential.

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