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From Telling to Teaching. A Dialogue Approach to Adult Learning. Karen Sherbondy, MEd , RD, LD. Different teaching method. Learner-centered education Hands-on activities Participants actively engaged in learning. Discussion.

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from telling to teaching

From Telling to Teaching

A Dialogue Approach to Adult Learning

Karen Sherbondy, MEd, RD, LD

different teaching method
Different teaching method
  • Learner-centered education
  • Hands-on activities
  • Participants actively engaged

in learning

  • Describe what you know about facilitated dialogue or learner-centered education
  • Describe what you want to learn about using a dialogue approach in teaching
  • What concerns do you have about teaching this way?
learner centered education lce
Learner-centered education (LCE)
  • Teaching that involves active participation of the leader and the learner
  • Gets all involved and centered on the learning
  • Sharing and comparing experiences of the learners
  • Creates a safe environment for learners to consider changing behaviors
lce is
  • About the learner
  • About what the learner needs to do to remain engaged and excited
  • Structure within the flow of discussion and exchange of ideas
lce is not
  • About the educator
  • Lectures with activities added
  • Based on a pre-written script
laying the foundation
Laying the foundation

Reinforce learning

Partner interactions

Open questions

Learning style preferences

Activate prior learning

Setting the learning environment

adult learning principles
Adult learning principles
  • Environment
    • Safe
    • Respectful
    • Work in small groups
  • Information
    • Personally relevant
    • Immediately useful
  • Style
    • Engaging
    • Open-ended questions
    • Remember learning styles
activate prior l earning and experience
Activate prior learning and experience
  • Why do we activate prior learning?
    • Link new information to what already know
which describes how you learn best
Which describes how you learn best?

____I learn best when I read and take notes.

____I learn best when I am part of a group and can discuss information.

____I learn best when I am part of a group

and listen to the speaker.

____I learn best when I use a combination of

the above.

learning style preferences
Learning style preferences




do it a ll
Do it all
  • Incorporate all learning styles into your teaching
      • Hear it
      • Write it
      • Do it
      • Say it
open ended questions
Open-ended questions
  • Allow for conversation
  • Let learner reflect and make personal meaning of new information
  • Involve thinking
  • Require active listening by the facilitator

Trio talks

Table chats


Partner interactions

reinforce the learning
Reinforce the learning
  • How can your learners review information in fun, yet meaningful ways?
  • How can you improve the odds that they will use the information or skill after they leave you?
learner centered approach
Learner-centered approach
  • Balance between meeting learner’s need while providing valuable information
who s the expert
Who’s the expert?
  • Educator is the expert in information and the experiences of others
  • Client is the expert in his/her behavior and life
dialogue approach
Dialogue approach
  • The delivery of new information combined with opportunities for learners to do something with it
    • Open question and responses
    • Conversation
    • Learners decide the meaning of new information and importance to them
  • What is to be taught?
  • What do participants need to know or know how to do?
  • Decide what to leave in and what to

leave out!

  • We should be teaching half

as much in twice the time

  • Let go of content!
what will the learners do with the content
What will the learners do with the content?
  • Link content to an achievement objective
    • Information they need
    • What they will do with information
    • How it will happen
  • How will the session be designed so that the learners will achieve the objectives?
learning tasks
Learning Tasks
  • Anchor
  • Add
  • Apply
  • Away
  • Ground the topic in the learners’ lives
  • Provide new information
  • Have learners do something with the information
  • Allow learners to move the information into the future
comparing teaching approaches youth vs adult
Comparing teaching approaches – youth vs. adult

Youth Adult

Experiential approachDialogue approach

Do……………………………… Anchor


Reflect……………………….. Apply

Apply…………………………. Apply/Away

strategies to use
Strategies to use
  • Open-ended questions
  • Pros and cons grid
  • Tell a story
  • Scale of 0 to 10
  • Menus and list of choices
  • Trade-off analysis
open ended questions1
Open-ended questions
  • What do open-ended questions sound like?
  • Learners have asked you how to get children to eat more vegetables
  • Traditional closed-ended questions
    • Do you worry about your child not eating vegetables?
    • Are you interested in getting your child to eat more vegetables?
open ended questions2
Open-ended questions
  • Find out if learner recognizes there is a problem
    • What might be the benefits of eating the vegetables you are serving your child?
  • Find out if learner has any concerns about the issue
    • What do you worry about when your child doesn’t eat vegetables?
  • Find out learner’s level of intention of changing behaviors
    • What do you want to know about how to get your child to eat more vegetables?
  • Find out learner’s level of confidence in making changes
    • We have discussed several ideas to get your child to eat more vegetables. Which ideas would work for you, and why do you think they would work better than other ideas presented?
pros and cons grid
Pros and cons grid
  • Helps learners to consider both sides of changing behavior
  • Provides information to facilitator about obstacles learners face

If I do



If I don’t change

pros and cons
Pros and cons
  • Any change brings positive and negative consequences
  • See both sides and determine if pros outweigh cons
  • See what will make change work and what will interfere with change
  • Always a cost to not changing
    • Immediate or delayed
pros and cons scenario
Pros and cons scenario

Learners ask how to get children to eat more vegetables.

Proposed change-be a role model and eat vegetable yourself.

  • Pros
    • If I change
      • My child will see me eat vegetables and will try them
    • If I don’t change
      • My child may get sick more often
  • Cons
    • If I change
      • I don’t like vegetables and will gag in front of my child
    • If I don’t change
      • My child won’t learn to like vegetables
tell a story
Tell a story
  • Creates a safe situation to get responses
  • Use open-ended questions to get discussion started
  • Make questions specific to learners’ needs
tell a story1
Tell a story
  • Mrs. Smith serves soda pop with lunch and dinner. Both she and her children have cavities, are overweight and don’t drink enough milk.

Suggested open-ended questions

    • What else could she serve as a drink with meals?
    • What might happen if she continues not to serve milk with meals?
scale of 0 to 10
Scale of 0 to 10
  • Can use to get learners to react to an idea or suggestion that doesn’t reveal personal information
  • Not appropriate with all cultures
  • Alternate-offer 3 points-the ends and one middle point
      • Always
      • Sometimes
      • Never
scale of 0 to 101
Scale of 0 to 10
  • Present a situation or suggest a behavior to the group
  • Ask group to think about how they would rate their response on a scale of 0 (least) to 10 (most)
    • Responses provide answers that support change or describe barriers
  • Explore why someone may have answered a lower or higher number
    • On a scale of 0 to 10, someone could have answered a lower/higher number.
    • Why do you think she may not give a lower/higher number?
menus and list of choices
Menus and list of choices
  • Provide list of possible suggestions
  • Learners look at list and select one or more choices to consider
  • Encourages learners to work as a team
    • Here are some ideas about healthy drinks to offer children. Which one would you choose? How much would you give?
trade off analysis
Trade-off analysis
  • Ask questions that allow for dialogue about what are the trade-offs to change
  • Use open-ended questions
    • What might happen if _______?
    • What other reasons________?
    • What will you do if________?
    • How will you handle the situation if______?
the power of the visual
The power of the visual
  • Why use visuals?
    • Help learners by adding graphic organizers
facilitation skills
Facilitation skills
  • Waiting
  • Affirming
  • Weaving
our goal
Our goal

Invite learners to make meaning and form new ideas, skills and behaviors to fit into their own context

our role
Our role

To teach, not to tell

  • Keeping dialogue on track
  • Handling misinformation

* Be sure to create an environment of

acceptance and respect

keeping dialogue on track
Keeping dialogue on track
  • Frequent summarization of the learners’ comments can assure dialogue continues to closure
  • Summarization statements
    • Let’s review what has been mentioned so far.
    • In summary, we can say that most of you think…
    • I think I have heard you agree to the following…
    • Many of you have different opinions. Let’s take a moment to review these.
what else
What else?
  • What are some other statements that can be used to begin a discussion summary?

Be sure to create an environment of acceptance and respect

handling misinformation affirm add and move on
Handling misinformation-Affirm, add, and move on
  • Affirm person that made erroneous comment
    • Thank you for bringing that up since lots of people think that.
  • Give concise response
    • New research has shown that…
  • Move on by reaffirming the learner and getting back to the discussion
handling misinformation
Handling misinformation
  • Traditionally we used to teach that_______
  • Now we know more about________
  • Other research has found________
  • We can discuss that later because the rest of the group wants to move on
discussion questions
Discussion questions
  • Describe the experience of teaching using the dialogue approach.
  • What goals do you have?
  • What concerns do you have?
  • What are your questions?
putting it together
Putting it together
  • What other information do you need to allow you to implement facilitated dialogue?
  • What additional information that you would like to have?
  • Norris, Joye (2003). From Telling to Teaching: A Dialogue Approach to Adult Learning. North Myrtle Beach, SC: Learning by Dialogue.
  • Sigman-Grant, M. (2004). Let’s Dance. Facilitated Dialogue Basics; A Self-Study Guide for Nutrition Educators. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.