Our Pedagogy and Methods
Bible Journey is not just enjoyable and engaging material, but carefully designed courses crafted with pedagogically-researched learning theories in mind. Our Bible Journey courses are structured around the following principles that allow for an immersive and rich learning experience:
A balance of guidance and independent exploration
Students need the right balance of guidance and independent exploration, predictability and surprise. Our curriculum can only accomplish its objective of understanding the big picture of the Bible if students move sequentially through the Bible. However, students will also be more engaged when they have as much choice as possible. We support what we call “directed discovery” with an elliptical movement forward. Each lesson will allow students to explore the “In the Text,” “Behind the Text” and “In Front of the Text” sections in whatever order they would like, and even lessons can be done out of order. However, each module is designed to lead you to the next.
A technologically interactive curriculum
People of all ages learn better when they engage various learning styles and all their senses. Neuroscience is discovering more all the time about the different kinds of intelligences and the best ways for us to learn. We have a mix of written and visual content and offer a workbook because journaling your way through the Bible will help make this your Bible Journey. God chose to be holistic in his revelation – providing not only words to speak and hear but an immersive, interactive liturgy.
The social dimension of learning is important for our learning to stick. Theorists in the field of the sociology of knowledge often say that knowledge is socially constructed. The Bible was meant to be engaged by a community of believers who accepted its terms and lived together with them. Because we believe that community is the global church, we are constantly expanding the resources for In Front of the Text discussions so that we can hear from our brothers and sisters in every part of the world.
Situated or contextualized learning
Abstract concepts need to make sense in terms of real life or they are difficult to retain. The chances of new knowledge becoming part of our long-term understanding has a lot to do with timing. If we understand that what we are learning is applicable now and we see that link, we will have a connection that makes learning our own. If you look at how Jesus trained his disciples, he had a rhythm of both doing and discussing. He did not try to dump content into them all at once, but rather created learning moments which were ripe for truth that could at times be quite unsettling. Our Bible Journey courses provide context in both Behind the Text and In Front of the Text lessons to situate the Scriptures in both their original context as well as how they’ve transformed and influenced the global church throughout history.
We retain more when we help build. Many people find that their greatest learning and retention comes from any time they had to teach. Though biblical revelation doesn’t change, our understanding of it grows over time. Our courses will provide each student the opportunity to integrate and synthesize what they are learning in ways that are memorable and practical for them.
Rigor and proximal zone learning
Bible Journey is enjoyable and engaging, but it is also quite challenging. Proximal zone learning is learning where students become motivated by the gap between what they can do on their own and what they can do with the help of a coach or guide. Our guidance makes it possible to do more than you think you can, not only in terms of understanding complexity but also in terms of retention. Similarly, providing proper scaffolding for students—material that systematically builds on student’s experiences and knowledge—allows students to both push themselves beyond what they may have thought possible while also becoming independent learners.
Each lesson begins with an introduction that is more than a summary of the content to come. Rather, it is a well-designed conceptual ramp that both prepares and excites students for learning. The advance organizer is the brief orientation that orients the student to where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re headed. The orientation may be emotional and theological as well as intellectual.
Every lesson will follow a path of discovery and insight that leads to a place of synthesis and reflection. Learning is a delicate process that can sometimes fall short of its full benefit when we rush past the reflective stage. This is the place when we stop and consider the full implications of what we have seen and heard. It is the time to savor and decide what you have learned, what you will hold onto and how your learning will impact your future actions.
Everyone, regardless of age, enjoys seeing their progress as they move toward a goal. Our curriculum allows for self-guidance while moving students along to the end of a course, a study and, eventually, the whole Bible. Your guide will be like a coach, sometimes leading from in front and sometimes providing a gentle push from behind. The curriculum will help you chart your progress visually every step of the journey, keeping you engaged emotionally as well as cognitively.
Bible Journey provides the most efficient way to understand the whole Bible in its context. However, we understand that a variety of reasons will be in play as some students decide to explore just a few courses or journey academically through the entire Bible. We have endeavored to map out the various trails for each of these choices and show their connection to the larger path through Scripture.
While any curriculum should be well-mapped and have a solid pedagogical foundation for its delivery, there is something obviously different about a Bible curriculum. We are helping to deepen access to divine revelation. We have witnessed unexpected ways that Bible Journey has impacted the lives of those who submit to the Word of God. In fact, the program will eventually invite every user to take a before and after spiritual inventory to help them recognize the work of God in their lives. Our goal is not as much to defend the Bible or explain it as to give people access to it to experience the transformative nature of Scripture for themselves. “No eye has seen, nor ear has heard…” —nor adult learning theory has conceived— “…what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor 2:9)