Posted by: arieliondotcom | October 25, 2008

The Learning Design Style of JESUS

So what (do you and the folks at my seminary ask) does learning design for Connectivist-based learning have to do with Christian missions?  Plenty.

As I continue to see, everything about Connectivism that I have seen and heard thus far ties in somehow to the method that GOD has used to spread knowledge of Himself through humanity and to interact with them.  And that includes the way JESUS dealt with His apostles, disciples, and those they would connect with along the way in telling others about Him (Christian Missions).  Missions is nothing more than a learning design to get people to gain and exchange knowledge about JESUS through connecting with Him and each other.

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

JESUS told his followers to teach others, to connect to others, and share what they knew and experienced of and with Him.  The word “teach” here is “didasko” in the Greek.  “Didasko” is where we get the word “didactic” from, but the real meaning of the Greek is much more than spitting out digested information for fledglings to swallow.  There is even the implication of still learning as you share.

How is this done?  As I explained in the Moodle, Connectivist learning/instructional “design”, to me, is simply laying a scent trail for others to follow. If the scent to the information/connections you want “your students” to have is enticing enough they will follow it and make those connections to groups/networks with the critical mass to lead to the intended knowledge. The challenge will be as an “educator” will be to celebrate the other connections they make along the way.

The Apostle Paul explains further in several ways:

2 Corinthians 2:14-17

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;  to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.”

Christian Missions is the process of Believers spreading the scent of JESUS throughout the world.  And this is done while in connection with Christ (“in Christ in the sight of God”) while connecting to each other and the new “nodes” attracted/connected by the “aroma.”

This, in turn, is connected to another (similar) method which is reflected in our readings for this week in Learning Design for Connectivism.  Paul says:

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.  I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

This is what the articles by Grainne Conole were (unwittingly) about this week.  In her article on New Schemas for Mapping Pedagogies and Technologies she explains how to tailor technologies to the needs of students and the best methods of connecting to them and exchanging information and forming knowledge.  She gives several diagrams showing how to do this, to use the technology to “become” what the student needs, to make the connection of the type the student needs, depending on context, types of information, methodologies, etc.  These same principles (including the diagrams) can be applied to connecting to people according to their context in order to share perceptions and gain/exchange knowledge about Christ.  Depending on the context, the interaction with them may be more individual (discipleship)  or more social (worship service), more informational (letters) or more experiential (healing).

Grainne’s second article on Cloudworks “fleshed out” possible methods for actual construction of lesson design based on the above, as Believers collaborate in order to establish connections that network with unbelievers and bring them into contact with Christ and His various expressions of Himself through Scripture, prayer, worship, social interaction, etc.

What is teaching other than sharing in the same way a missionary shares?  What are George Siemens and Stephen Downes if not “missionaries” of Connectivism?  We share what we know through our networks.  Christian Missions it is an opportunity to network with GOD Himself.



  1. Hi Arielion,
    I’m one of the unbelievers you network with, and through you I have a (weak) connection to God himself ;-). I can read your missionary language and benefit from the nice metaphors, that give my understanding new dimensions. What I have read about scientific explanations of ‘happiness’ narrows the gap to religion, and you seem to have a un-fundamentalist approach to Christianity, like Grundtvig.
    I think I have to write a post on that guy, Grundtvig. Do you know him, by the way.
    And thanks for your ‘lovelorn’ comment,I like that it is in a positive spirit but still critical.
    /Jorgen C

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