The Blended Learning Process
This a learning model that mixes or combines several methods. These types of learning models maximize learning outcomes. In other words, it helps people learn more in less time. And, that’s why we use it.
We have been refining this process for over thirty years. We have found that many of the forms of moving and seated meditation share the same preparatory elements. So, we can combine similar preparatory exercises and teach several spiritual technologies at the same time. Rather, we teach them in a complementary way to achieve the best learning outcomes. And so, this type of learning gives participants practical experience with new technologies.
Our blended learning strategy includes theory, instruction, reinforcement, feedback, and teach-back components. Moreover, it uses several effective learning tools from written materials and video, to personal and group instruction. In fact, this learning model is at the core of our mission. We use it to teach the ancient tools for expanding awareness and investigating higher states of consciousness. As such, we believe it is an effective learning forum. Also, one of the best ways to ensure you know something is to teach it back. 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.
Another key point is that we keep the integrity of traditions intact. We do not change the original process. 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.
The Hero’s Journey
This learning process we’ve described isn’t a new model. However, it is probably one of the most effective. You might say that modern learning theory is simply recognizing this pattern in ancient methods. The early pioneers of consciousness may not have had all the learning tools we do today. They obviously did not nave video and recording devices. However, they blended the learning tools they did have. And, so the ways of teaching simply add more tools to the process. Not coincidentally, it follows an ancient pattern Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey.
“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 Campbell
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 learning strategy. 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 repeat over and over, again and again. We employ this blended learning strategy of the Hero’s Journey. The three phases of this quest are 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 strengths. Then we learn how to leverage them in many ways. This is the preparation phase enabling us to “ready” to learn deeper practices.
The advantages of using a blended learning model are evident from the beginning. Many people tell us they learn more in this awaking phase in a few short meetings than they learn in month-long seminars. Additionally, participants learn they are co-teachers and coaches. Helping each other reinforces learning and helps to overcome obstacles.
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 several reasons. First, we have found that learning several techniques that build sequentially 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 spiritual practices and further our spiritual exploration. This is the Hero’s Journey.
Above all, follow the desire to explore the mysteries of the inner world. This is one of the main reasons we are here. The existence of non-ordinary states of consciousness is proof that we should explore. It opens the door to experiences that are beyond the realm of the ordinary.
Find a resource that can provide you tools to follow the Hero’s Journey. Ideally, a source that provides a similar blended learning approach to spiritual exploration. Find a school that uses the hero’s journey model. Become a seeker, not a follower.