Just as society advances and changes with time, the ways of educating as well as learning also transform and advance. Dialogical learning is a great example of this kind of transformation.

The growth and popularization of learning communities has helped this type of teaching to flourish and demonstrate its benefits over other more traditional types of teaching.

What is dialogic learning?

Dialogical learning is the practical framework in which these learning communities are developed. It encourages people to learn through interaction with others, with communication being the main source of learning.

From the point of view of dialogical learning, interaction with third parties is essential for a learning process or mechanism to be established. Through this process of dialogue we elaborate a series of knowledge from an initially social and intersubjective plane , to later assimilate it as our own or intrasubjective knowledge.

In addition, another characteristic of dialogical learning is that all those who participate in it do so in a relationship of equality. This implies that the contributions of each and every one of the participants are important and are based on criteria of validity and not power.

In its beginnings, the idea of dialogical learning was developed based on the observation of how people are able to learn not only within schools or educational centres of any kind, but also outside these they have the opportunity to assimilate large amounts of information freely and with the possibility of participating in this learning.

As a result, the first learning communities as we understand them today began to develop. These are intended to give greater importance to equal dialogue within the learning group and to revolutionize the teaching methods practiced to date.

The 7 Principles of Dialogical Learning

In order for dialogic learning to take place as it was founded, seven fundamental principles must be given. They are the following.

1. Egalitarian dialogue

By dialogue we mean an exchange of information between two or more people who express their ideas and comments in an alternative way. If we add to this the qualification of egalitarian, that is, in equal conditions, we manage to break the hierarchical and authoritarian relations of traditional education .

This means that every idea, opinion or thought is accepted on the basis of a criterion of validity of the arguments, instead of being imposed by power or the simple fact of possessing a supporting title.

2. Cultural Intelligence

The concept of cultural intelligence is one of the most important within the dynamics of dialogical learning. This type of intelligence overcomes the limitations of traditional concepts of intelligence, which are based almost entirely on IQ and have a certain cultural and class bias.

The advantage of cultural intelligence over traditional notions of intelligence is that it includes both academic intelligence and practical and communicative intelligence.

3. Transformation

As mentioned above, dialogical learning seeks to transform the socio-cultural environment in order to transform learning as well. In this way, the transformation of the contexts prior to the exchange of knowledge takes place through the interaction of all the people from whom one learns , including oneself.

4. Instrumental dimension

In dialogical learning, the instrumental dimension is understood as those means or tools that form the basis for achieving the rest of the learning , being an essential principle to ensure a quality education.

The aim of this dimension is to prevent social exclusion through the involvement and participation of all persons belonging to the learning communities.

5. Creation of meaning

The creation of meaning refers to the creation of a vital orientation of our existence. The involvement of families in communities and in the education of children; as well as the creation of spaces of interaction and dialogue for the resolution of problems as a whole .

Dialogical learning seeks to shape a whole universe of learning with a social and ethical background that goes beyond the mere administration and assimilation of knowledge.

6. Solidarity

In order to develop educational routines and experiences based on equality, it is necessary to assimilate an egalitarian conception of education, in which the educational well-being of all students is pursued.

In this way, the principle of solidarity promotes an inclusive education that offers the same opportunities to all students and that, far from promoting competition among students, encourages collaboration and the sharing of learning mechanisms and techniques.

This implies that both teachers and students, as well as the rest of the people in the community, are committed to achieving satisfactory academic results for all students .

7. Equality of differences

Traditionally, it has been understood that diversity within the classroom tends to make teaching processes more difficult, hence the supposed need to create specific classrooms and classes for students with special needs and favouring segregation and educational inequalities.

On the contrary, in dialogical learning this diversity is recognized and accepted with the difference that this diversity is used for its own benefit as another learning engine.
Finally, this principle supports the right of children to enjoy an education of the highest quality regardless of their personal characteristics or situation.

Benefits and contributions

Once we know what the theoretical and practical foundations of dialogical learning are , as well as the fundamental principles on which it is based, we can reach a series of conclusions about its advantages and contributions to the field of current education.

These benefits are specified in the following points:

  • Creation of a common language that favours the functioning of the group and the inclusion of all members.
  • Empowerment of individual thought and knowledge construction.
  • Promotion of values such as communication, collaboration and responsibility
  • Enhancement of teamwork skills.
  • Accompaniment and inclusion in a work group favours motivation for learning.
  • Generation of a positive interdependence in which group members need each other to improve and learn.
  • Positive evaluation of the collaborations and individual contributions .
  • Enhancing a context of discussion and constructive communication.
  • Generation of synergies within the learning groups
  • It provides opportunities for all students regardless of their abilities and personal situation.
  • It encourages the involvement and active participation of both students and other community members.