Why we slowed down our 2021 Communication for Development course

Why we slowed down our 2021 Communication for Development course

You need time to digest new ideas, discuss them with other people, cultivate your understanding of them

communication for development

In 1986, an Italian from Piedmont named Carlo Petrini protested against the opening of a fast food restaurant. He didn’t know it at the time, but his action would be the spark that started the slow food movement.

At its core, Slow Food is all about defending regional traditions, good food, and a slow pace of life. It recognizes the connections between plate, planet, and people. And it has a strong presence in Italy, especially in Turin.

“It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better.

The slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail's pace.

It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed.

– Carl Honoré, In Praise of Slow

In 1996, Turin hosted Slow Food’s inaugural Salone del Gusto. The international fair, which is still held today, is dedicated to sustainable food and small-scale producers that safeguard local traditions. 

Applying “slow” to learning and training

Communication connotes instant messages and instant gratification. Visions of words and images moving at lightning speed around the globe. Necks craned over cell phone screens.

Unfortunately, learning does not always work that way. 

You need time to digest new ideas, discuss them with other people, cultivate your understanding of them. You need to leave room to change your mind and iterate a few times.

What if we shifted toward a slower pace?

Taking your time to really think about new information is known as contemplative or deep learning. It’s all about allowing new concepts to turn over in your mind before acting on them or forming opinions about them.

Research confirms that these contemplative forms of inquiry can offset the constant distractions of our multi-tasking, multi-media culture. Thus, creative teaching methods that integrate the ancient practice of contemplation innovatively meet the particular needs of today’s students.”

– Montclair State University, Contemplative Pedagogy Program

Contemplative learning goes hand-in-hand with other undervalued skills like: 

  • Listening
  • Building relationships
  • Reviewing, re-reading, and referencing

These are the principles that guided us as we designed a fully-online 2021 Communication for Development course.

An ode to slowness

We wanted to challenge the idea that you need the latest technologies at the fastest speeds to do the best communication today. As the pace of information exchange increases, we’re looking for ways to take our time and enjoy the journey.

Here’s how we slowed down our course:

More time to focus: We lengthened the course from 4 weeks to 8, realizing that our learners would benefit from the extra time. We added a one-on-one coaching phase, which will be feasible since the course is fully online. And we’re allowing participants to focus on their own projects, a common request that we’re fulfilling this year.

Revisiting old media: One new feature we’re looking forward to presenting is a podcast series. Inspired by older, slower media (think old-time radio programmes and TV talk shows), our goal with the podcast is to create a space for listening, learning, and reflecting.

Expert perspectives: We will interview five communications professionals in relaxed talks, structured around thought-provoking questions: What happens when a development project meets communication? How do you write compelling messages for social media? How do you transform beautiful ideas into amazing digital experiences?

Smell the roses: Listen to some music while you’re taking a walk as a break from the course; it will help you visualize and process the information you’ve learned so far. Read our recommended articles and stories out loud to your child, your partner, your friends; it will help those concepts stick in your mind. Meditate or journal about what you’ve learned, daily or weekly, before you go to sleep; it will help you make new connections to the materials.

“The goal of communication is to survive in the age of information.”

– Tom Wambeke, Chief of Learning Innovation

Join our course

We believe that the most powerful ways to learn today are unhurried and reflective. 

Even communication could benefit from slowing down. Consider the latest trends: longform journalism, podcasts that dig deep into a topic, and human stories that reveal the truth about the way the world works today.

There’s power in that, too.

If you agree, join us for our fully-online 2021 Communication for Development course. We’ll be covering some of our most-requested topics, including communication strategy, storytelling and creative writing, and social media and old media. ;)

Download the course syllabus for more details.

Our training is also fun!