ANNOUNCING: Simply True with Dr. Jane Vella

Welcome to a new Global Learning Partners podcast: Simply True with Dr. Jane Vella. On this limited series, GLP Founder Jane Vella explores the simple truths behind some of her favorite axioms about how adults learn with friends and colleagues. We can’t wait to share these veritable “fireside chats” with you all! In the meantime, listen to episode 000 to find out what axioms are, why they stick, and what Jane is most excited about for this new series.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or virtually anywhere podcasts are found!

This show is produced by Global Learning Partners and Greg Tilton Jr, with theme music composed by Kyle Donald.

Read the transcripts for the episode below.


Meg: Hello and welcome to a brand new Global Learning Partners podcast – Simply True with Dr. Jane Vella. I am Meg Logue – Marketing + Creative Coordinator for GLP and co-host of Shift the Power: A Learning-Centered Podcast. Today I am joined by our beloved Founder – Jane Vella. Welcome Jane!

Jane: Hello!

Meg: Many of you who listened to season one of shift, the power are likely very familiar with Jane’s voice. And you may have noticed that she was conspicuously absent on season two. And of course, as because we had a little something up our sleeve, Jane is joining us today to announce a very exciting new podcast endeavor, a limited series entitled simply true with Dr. Jane Vella. And this podcast is going to feature a few familiar voices from shift the power as well as many new ones from both Jane’s past and GLP’s past and present. The focus of the show will be on a little something that we like to refer to as axioms. So Jane I’m sure for many of our listeners, the word “axiom” probably doesn’t mean a whole lot. And I would love for you to give us a little bit of background. What does the word axiom mean to you? What are axioms?

Jane: Axioms – I love the word because I discovered that the root of the word is the Greek word “Axios,” which means worthy, worthy. Some alternatives to axioms would be maxims. They call them sometimes maxims, sayings. It’s a pithy way to almost concentrate everything we’re trying to do.

Meg: I think in Latin, we call them sententiae.

Jane: Yeah, that’s beautiful. Thank you, Meg. I didn’t find the Latin. And so axioms are important to us because we have a set of them, which has somehow emerged over the years. And I delight in them because they are provocative, like “no laughing, no learning”. Well, I’ve had serious people come to workshops who said, wow. So I love the title that you all have given to this podcast because essentially, it’s simply true. The sun rises in the east, that’s an axiom. Does that help, Meg?

Meg: It does. It does. And you know, one thing that you sort of alluded to is the way that these very simple and simply true phrases, they can really stick with you and bright, and they’re, they’re very short, sweet, and powerful little package. And I wonder if you could speak into that a little bit. Why do you think it is that axioms stick and why are they useful?

Jane: Because the sun does rise in the east every morning. The fact is it’s simply true and it’s simply true. Both words are emphasized in that phrase. So they stick because they’re true. I mean, you can’t argue with, well, not in my town, it don’t rise in the east. I’m sorry.

Meg: Could you speak a little bit Jane to how many of these axioms came about?

Jane: Yes. I do things a great deal by my intuition. And I knew that much of what we do is counter-cultural and is a little bit shocking. The fact of it is being vindicated or corroborated by our reading of James E. Zull’s, two books. One is called “The Art of Changing the Brain”. And the other is called “From Brain to Mind”. And these books are amazing, because he’s not a Neuroscientist. He’s a Biochemist who got landed as the Director of the Medical School Education Center at the Cleveland Clinic, because the physicians all said, not me, not me – and James Zull discovered that adult learning theory is congruent with how the brain works. It’s fact, for example, one of our axioms is “lavish affirmation” and oh my goodness. A lot of people contested that. No, no, no, I don’t do that. I tell them like it is, I tell it like it is. Well, you may be inhibiting the learning of your learners if you are harsh or judgmental or scolding. Hello. And it all has to do with the shape and function of the brain. That’s what we’re learning. And I keep saying, I have one word to describe my experience with Zull. And it is “wow”. Because, two things, it’s so beautiful

That’s wow. And it also corroborates almost all of these axioms. So your question was, how did these emerge? I’d like to say, I don’t know, but they did, and I delight in them because they do capture our experience. Meg, let me ask you, you designed and taught using a learning centered approach. You’re doing it here in the podcast. Which of the axioms do you feel where you referred to?

Meg: Ooh. Any one of them? Well, I feel like I’ve referred to a couple, even within the podcast, which is part of where this whole series came about. We realized, yeah –

Jane: That’s what happens here. It’s magic.

Meg: Yeah. One of my favorites is probably “pray for doubt”.

Jane: Yes.

Meg: And I think maybe one of your favorites, “no laughing, no learning”.

Jane: Yes, indeed.

Meg: I love, I love those. And a few of those, I think we will hopefully feature on- on this series, but I have found it to be true in my experience to the so many of the axioms they stick, because like you said, they are simply true. They stick because they- they get to the heart of something that many of us have experienced in our teaching, in our facilitating and designing, even if you don’t have a whole lot of experience – I’m still relatively new to the whole field and practice of learning-centered approach and when I read each of these axioms, I can feel their- their truth.

Jane: And- and what just happened, folks is what happens with not just the axioms, but the whole system. And that is the learner – and here in this case, we could say we’re both learning, Meg and I, in this dialogue. But did you notice, and did you notice, Meg answered both of her questions, both of your questions. So Meg, you did the work. I didn’t do anything but say, “I’m not sure.” So my prayer for doubt was answered.

No, it’s, it’s beautiful. They’re beautiful. And I love to hear how people have used them to the advantage of their own work and the people’s learning. And look at the word “worthy”. I love the word worthy – an axiom is worthy of the experience. It’s simply true. Whew. And it’s worthy also of the good people who are with you in the experience. Hm. Wow. Isn’t that beautiful?

Meg: It- it is. It absolutely is. I want to touch on something that you, that you just said about how wonderful it is to hear how people have used these axioms in their own experience, because that’s really what we’re going to be doing with this series, Simply True. We’re going to be talking to guests, people who you know from- from your past and people who are friends and colleagues, both of you and of those of us at Global Learning Partners today. And I’m curious to hear, you know, we’re going to be talking to a guest on each episode about one axiom in particular – that’s kind of the setup for the show – but what are you most excited about for this new series?

Jane: That. That people will be hearing from peers. One of the other axioms I cherish is “dialogue is not a dialogue between teacher and learner. It’s among learners of whom the teacher is one”. The listeners to the podcast will be hearing, again, true experiences of people who have been using a learning-centered approach and therefore implementing these axioms. I think it’s a wonderful design.

Meg: Jane, I want to say thank you so much for joining us today for this exciting announcement. And for my part, I’m very excited to make meaning through dialogue with you as we discuss many people’s experiences with these simple truths.

Jane: Thank you, Meg. And thanks for all the good work you and Peter and Greg are doing. It’s- it’s fantastic.

Meg: We are very happy to do it! And to our listeners, we look forward to you tuning in to Simply True with Dr. Jane Vella.

Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Simply True with Dr. Jane Vella. This podcast is produced by Global Learning Partners and Greg Tilton, with music by Kyle Donald. If you enjoy the show, consider leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or your preferred podcast player!

To find out more about Global Learning Partners – whether it be our course offerings, consulting services, or free resources – go to We invite you to sign up for our mailing list, subscribe to our podcast, and find us on social media to continue the dialogue.

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