Monologue or dialogue?

IMG_3843You can’t afford to think like you used to… This is as true in education now as it is in marketing.

Under the old model you used to be able to broadcast your message to your audience. It was a one-way information transaction. You would transmit and they would receive. You were active and they were passive.

We grew up with this. Think of traditional television advertising… think of your high school education… think of how you experienced any higher level learning: typically, the teacher stands at the front. Students sit in rows. Teacher teaches. Learners learn. It’s a one way transaction. A monologue.

Under the new model, both parties are active participants. You can blame the internet if you like. But it’s a good thing. This is how social media marketing works. You talk to your customers and clients. They talk back. That’s how companies and organisations use tools like Facebook and Twitter. It’s incredibly powerful and your customers feel empowered.

In other words, it’s a dialogue.

This has profound implications for education. The internet, social media, computer games, Youtube and multitudes of other well-designed, visually-oriented, customer-centred interactions have trained our learners to expect the dialogue.

They want to talk back. More than that… they expect to contribute. The old model doesn’t  allow this. Sure there are exceptions. But what they are. Exceptions.

The lecture, the monologue, and in particular, the live delivery face-to-face lecture monologue, isn’t exactly dead… but it needs to give up some space to the new model.

This new model is a dialogue. Our learners want to, expect to, engage in this dialogue. Trades and vocational tutors instinctively know this.

So the call to action is this: How are you going to make your teaching and learning more of a dialogue and less of a monologue?

Kia kaha

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

4 thoughts

  1. In regards to having engaged adult learners the old model is also dead I believe. I think that for all we have heard about the unique nature of adult education the monologue/dialogue divide has been missed. The data I’ve been viewing would suggest that monlogue equals disengagement in a very real way.
    If I was picking holes in the TEC strategy I would say that they have put all efforts toward improving the quality of the monlogue to students and perhaps missing a bigger picture.

  2. Love it! For us pre-internet dinosaurs, this is very confronting news, but you’re right on the money, and I think your contributor, Sitting Bull, is also on the money. Current national educational strategies need to foster and encourage the development of dialogue models within education.

    1. Thanks again R…! The real pre-internet dinosaurs are the organisations rather than the people I think. TEC have just upgraded from Workspace 1 to Workspace 2 for their behind the scenes infrastructure, but it’s horrible, broken, and already feels dated with crazy uploading and downloading functions…

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