10 Axioms for Learning Design (and just what IS an axiom, anyway?)
If you’ve been kicking around Dialogue Education circles long enough you’ll have heard a bunch of axioms bandied about. You might have read Dr. Jane Vella’s A Few New Axioms, about the new truths that have become apparent to her during her retirement years, or seen the results of the experiment Dan Haase and Kyle Tennant undertook as a result of an axiom.
But what is an axiom, really?
The American Heritage Dictionary defines it this way:
- A self-evident or universally recognized truth; a maxim.
- An established rule, principle, or law.
- A self-evident principle or one that is accepted as true without proof as the basis for argument; a postulate.
In the world of Dialogue Education learning designs, we have ten favorites that we explore in our Advanced Learning Design course and we invite you to ponder them for a moment as you read them here:
- Don’t tell what you can ask; don’t ask if you know the answer: tell in dialogue.
- Even a group of 4 (or 400) can be broken down to pairs: let every voice be heard!
- A warm-up is a learning task related to the topic. It is not an extra.
- A learning task is an open question, put to a small group with the resources they need to respond. It is for the learners, not you, the teacher.
- A critical incident (case study posing a problem) needs to be far enough away to be safe, and close enough to be relevant.
- Pray for doubt!
- The more teaching (professing), the less learning.
- We should generally be teaching half as much in twice the time.
- Aim for the proper sequence or flow, from simple to more complex.
- The design bears the burden.
In Advanced Learning Design we do a task together towards the end of our three-day course that’s focused on the axioms:
Think about what you have found most stretching and provocative during the past three days. Create your own pearl of wisdom to express your learning in the form of an axiom! Write or draw it on the paper provided and bring it to our axiom wall.
Take a Gallery Walk and express your reactions to what you see.
While we can't have a typical Gallery Walk here on our blog, we do have a comments section below that will suffice. A lot of you are very experienced teachers, facilitators and trainers – what are your favorite axioms related to learning designs? We invite you to share your comments below.
If you’d like to discover more pearls of wisdom for yourself, please join us in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 19-21 for Advanced Learning Design. This course is unique because only in Raleigh can you have dinner hosted by Dialogue Education founder Jane Vella on her back porch!