Dialogue of the Future – Are We Ready?

Global Learning Partners is poised to launch into cyberspace with our first online course. I know, I know, we’re a bit behind the curve when it comes to online learning but we’ve got our reasons. Because we’re so focused on learning through dialogue, we’ve been struggling a bit with how to create online events that still embody the principles and practices that serve us so well in our face-to-face learning events. How can we possibly translate all that great in-person chemistry into an online platform? What will we lose in the process? Is there anything to gain? These are the questions that trouble us as we tiptoe slowly into the online world.

In a recent post, I talked about some of the trends we’re seeing in the learning industry, and one that’s abundantly clear is that it’s necessary to offer online learning options and not rely solely on face-to-face learning events. And so GLP is venturing in. We’re working with a super-friendly Canadian company called Desire2Learn, which provides e-learning platforms of various kinds. We’re using their Learning Environment. It’s a robust system and, as such, is also complex and at times rather clunky to operate. The more time I’ve spent working with it the more clear it is to me that this kind of technology is in its infancy – the demand by users for what we need in an online learning environment is way ahead of what’s currently possible, technologically.

To me that’s exciting news. Why? Because we are on the cusp of what’s possible. And those of us who know the power of dialogue are in a position to influence the next generation of technology. In a great article in Chief Learning Officer magazine, Chris Yeh writes about The Schoolhouse of the Future. It’s worth reading this article in its entirety if you care about the future of teaching and learning. In it, Yeh talks about the trend of crowd sourcing, and the new tools that are at its disposal, such as wikis, videos and apps.

Every one of these tools is a tool that, in the right hands, can be used for the kind of dialogue we know and love. The whole idea of crowd sourcing is that the combined and applied knowledge, skills, and attitude of the crowd is better than the sum of its parts. And there’s an inherent respect for every individual who comprises the crowd; there’s a faith that each person brings to the crowd their own unique selves (experience, creativity, resources) and a trust that they will apply themselves to the task at hand. Sounds a bit like Dialogue Education, doesn’t it?

How are you using online technology to enhance your Dialogue Education practice?


This post by Joan Dempsey.