What did he or she bring to the relationship? How did he or she take care of you? What obstacles did you overcome? What did you learn or accomplish that was previously unattainable? How did it make you feel? Could there be a more inspiring way to learn and grow?
The kind of experience that these questions bring to mind illustrates the heart of relationship inspired learning. Our mission is to deliver world-class learning environments for one person to cultivate better relationships and to grow more potential.
How do we intend to deliver this kind of learning?
Our theory of practice grows from eight principles of "relationship inspired" learning. The eight principles were built on two keystone assumptions:
First Assumption: The best context for learning is always the context of relationship.
The founder of cultural-historical psychology, Lev Vygotsky described one component of the optimal learning context as a relationship between a less-experienced learner and a more experienced learner. Gordon Neufeld, author of Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers, describes the prime context for maturity as one where a less mature person attaches to a more mature person who takes responsibility for the relationship.
The first four guiding principles for our learning environments are built upon these bedrock developmental perspectives. The following are the first four relationship inspired learning principles:
1) People learn best when attached to a more-experienced learner.
2) People learn best when maturity is cultivated with a more-experienced learner.
3) People learn best when autonomy is supported by a more-experienced learner.
4) People learn best when positivity is reinforced by a more-experienced learner.
Second Assumption: The best environment for learning is one that inspires with meaningful content.
David Ausubel, the developmental psychologist and cognitive learning theorist, focused his life work on understanding meaningful learning. Ausubel found that meaning is created in the learning process through any form of representational content that connects directly with a learner's real experience. The content can be language, signs, symbols, concepts, or propositions that directly relate to the learners' experience.
Relationship inspired learners receive or discover meaningful content that inspires, stimulates curiosity, supports mastery, and invites responsibility. These are the final four relationship inspired learning principles:
5) People learn best when inspired by meaningful content.
6) People learn best when curiosity is activated by interaction with meaningful content.
7) People learn best when mastery of meaningful content is required.
8) People learn best when responsibility is given for innovation of meaningful content.
World-class learning environments are created when learners are given the opportunity to experience meaningful content in the context of a supportive relationship with a more-mature learner. Guided by the eight relationship inspired learning principles we exist to grow a world of inspiring relationships one world-class learning environment at a time.