The Philosophy behind the blended learning process
Our “blended learning process” is a learning strategy combining several effective, and practical teaching tactics. It’s a forum teaching several spiritual technologies in a complementary way. It includes theory, instruction, reinforcement, feedback, and teach-back components.
This strategy enables us to combine the preparatory exercises for multiple spiritual technologies. We keep the original integrity of the separate traditions intact. Feedback checks throughout the process ensure the learner is ready for the next step in the learning progression. Thus reinforcing learning, reducing many of the common issues with learning these tools. Consequently, this process results in better learning outcomes.
Also, we all know the best way to ensure you know something is to teach it. So, we’ve built the opportunity to share and help others in the process. This makes us all students and facilitators throughout the process. The more we learn the more we can pass along. This process isn’t a new model. It follows an ancient pattern Joseph Campbell called The Hero’s Journey.
The Hero’s Journey reflected in the blended learning process
“The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say, ‘Look, you’re in Sleepy Land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you there.’ And so it starts.” ―Joseph Campbel
What is most interesting, this is a pattern that is found at the heart of many spiritual philosophies and religions. It is also one that we mirror in our blended learning process. Although the pattern takes shape using different characters across many cultures, the core elements of the story remain the same. This story resonates with us on a deep level because it describes the visionary journey of our own spiritual exploration.
The Hero’s Journey is a story with a pattern involving three main phases. These phases revolve, intertwine, and overlap at times. If we look closely we’ll find this pattern in our own lives. This pattern cycles repeatedly over and over, again and again. We employ this blended learning strategy of the Hero’s Journey in three phases, awakening, transforming and inspiring.
Phase One – Awakening
In the first phase, (Awakening) people meet in small-groups (weekly or semi-weekly) (and now virtually) to build a foundation of basic terminology, knowledge, experience and meditative practices. We teach the benefits of using a journal to track our journey and experience, provide opportunities to learn several basic meditative practices and participate in other small group learning exercises. In this phase, we identify our personal strengths. Then we learn how to leverage them in many ways. This is the preparation phase enabling us to “ready” to learn deeper practices.
Phase Two – Transforming
The second phase (Transforming) is a weekend retreat. After we have a common foundation we invite everyone to assist in the co-facilitation of a weekend retreat. Meeting for a weekend is important for a number of reasons. First, we have found that learning several techniques that build in a sequential fashion is the best way to ensure learning. Logistically, it takes a weekend to adequately learn and practice this set of techniques that incorporate both seated and moving meditation. Learning the techniques in the morning, practice in the afternoon. This process ensures that the techniques are learned in a way that accommodates everyone’s learning style and abilities.
In the evenings we to have time to assimilate what we have learned, share and celebrate. The weekend is a time for the emersion in deeper practice, which is something we rarely do in our modern lifestyles. The weekend experience is often described as “an oasis” from our hectic lives. A time to share our personal “stories,” re-charge our spiritual and physical bodies, encourage and be encouraged, be energized and healed. The weekend goes by often too fast for most who want to stay and bask in the synergy and positive energy generated by so many involved in this noble aim.
Third Phase – Inspiring
The third phase (Inspiring) is the continued meeting of those who have been on the weekend. We continue building sharing, receiving help and encouragement to help us overcome any personal roadblocks. We reach out and partner with other like-minded people and groups. This helps us follow through, develop and establish our individual spiritual practices and further our spiritual exploration. This is the Hero’s Journey.