Reading Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block. Block shares:
“If we have any desire to create an alternative future, it is only going to happen through a shift in language. If we want a change in culture, for example, the work is to change the conversation–or, more precisely, to have a conversation that we have not had before, one that has the power to create something new in the world. This insight forces us to question the value of our stories, the positions we take, our love of the past, and our way of being in the world.”
To create learner engagement, we must tap in to the conversation the learner is having with themselves about the content to be learned. Next, we move the conversation from an internal one the learner has with themselves to an external dialogue they have with others. Well-designed questions lead the learner through this process. Without this dialogue at the beginning of the learning experience, it is difficult for true engagement to occur. Think about:
-Eliciting learner stories about their own experiences through simulations, journaling, group sharing, and personal reflection exercises.
-Asking the learner to compare and contrast their story with others’
In a recent 4MAT web class, a designer shared that she had learners create a timeline of experiences that shaped their definition of effective leadership. The exercise created a rich dialogue focused on great and not-so-great leadership moments. By comparing and contrasting the stories, the group began to create a collective definition of powerful leadership. Community emerged and engagement was immediate.