What would a gentle learning design feel like?
Within the constant hecticness of learning design (or instructional design, educational design), we often need to take refuge from the fray, away from performative pressures and ever-scaling up in learning and teaching. In a world besieged by the fast and the loud, gentle learning design invites us to linger in a quieter, slower, more careful contemplation of our learning and teaching ways.
What would it look like if we give ourselves time to consider the possibilities inherent in the humble power of ‘gentleness’ and to explore how gentleness might be expressed in our existing educative practices?
Can we go gently into, and with, learning design?
Philosophy of gentle…
Gentle is a choice, a way. We are at liberty to invite it, offer it, preserve it, reveal it, and note its presence and absence in our higher education practices.
Gentle is not one way, but multiple ways, because it supports learners and teachers to find their own way. It meets you where you are.
Gentle does not insist, but gives way. It leaves, and returns as needed.
Gentle is not an opposing force, but works with and within the existing ways of systems of thoughts, practices and activities. It can be a perspective within that system.
Gentle sways along a spectrum. It is the movement that ebbs and flows between extremes, the adaptive <>. It is the structure in freedom, and the freedom in structure.
When the way itself is unclear, start with Gentle, and it will meet you half-way.
Gentle is always only ever on the way. Gentle’s destination cannot be known in advance. As such it is friendly to slowness, waiting, partialness, uncertainty, mistakes, reversals, and changing one’s mind.
Gentle reveals the way itself to be the destination, after all. As such, it has the quality of a gift.
Nicci and Angela say:
We took a long time to come to this simple message. We thought alot and talked alot about what was important to us. We nearly ran a course. We nearly curated a bunch of resources. But the effort of constructing that seemed somehow to go against the grain of our intention. We thought – what is all this gentleness really about, for us? At heart, it is a philosophy – so we tried to find a few words for that. Thank you for reading it.
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