Learning function & community building function

The learning function and community-forming function are in our DNA

Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.

– Kolb, 1984

Digidak venues (initiations and walk-in sessions) are conceived as learning environments that enable and promote learning by individuals, groups or communities. A learning environment is understood as the total of resources, strategies, people and facilities that enable the learner to learn. The learner learns through interaction with that learning environment.

Global target orientation

The outer triangle of this diagram shows the purpose of the learning processes, and what result is intended. Digidak's global target orientation is defined as follows:

  • Adjust and fit. People learn to functionally integrate digital applications into their daily lives, according to utility. The context, the fellow learners and the coaches provide learning questions and learning experiences from which learning begins. The learning processes gradually contribute to functioning well in the context of an increasingly digital society.
  • Individual development. Learners and visitors learn in function of their own needs and desires in the field of digital skills as well as in other areas. People design blueprints themselves that they focus their learning on. These learning processes primarily contribute to self-realization. This target orientation is pivotal.
  • Social change, organizational development and increasing the 'available knowledge'. Within Digidak, learning transcends the individual. Learning processes take place at the level of 'shared and available knowledge' (knowledge creation). Learners and visitors question each other's available knowledge, supplement and exchange. Learning processes contribute to the further development of culture, society, organizations, knowledge and science, social structures. New blueprints for living, working together, knowing together are being designed throughout the learning processes.

Perspective on learning

The outer circle indicates the meaning that can be given to learning processes. For Digidak, mostly learning as constructing and changing meaning is of great importance, with learning as changing systems and contexts supporting the first perspective on learning.

  • Learning as constructing and changing meaning. Digidak emphasizes learning together, learning from and with each other. In initiations and to a lesser extent in the walk-in sessions, people give meaning to the use of digital applications in their lives. Usefulness, experiences and challenges are shared and transform into shared knowledge. Although the initiations are planned with lesson plans and course texts, these are always secondary to the interaction between people, the learning opportunities and the resources that arise. In addition, the need for digital reinforcement is used as an "excuse" to bring people together and thus initiate a social learning process. There is room for everyone to "learn" and learning goes beyond simply transferring or acquiring digital skills.
  • Learning as changing systems and contexts. As a facilitator of the above perspective and also as a dissemination thereof, Digidak is committed to changing the interaction between groups and individuals on the one hand and society on the other. Volunteers (coaches at initiations and walk-in sessions) and learners and visitors actively transform their relationship towards people in their own vicinity: informal (support) networks take shape, people are involved with each other from an initially dependent interpersonal learning position. From there, we appeal to assuming responsibility towards the world and to "activate": the inclusion of active citizenship.

Vision on the quality development of learning processes

Digidak venues are dinamycally designed powerful learning environments, embedded in local meeting spaces. Participating in the group and the network is the starting point for "learning" within Digidak. It is aopen learning trajectory: What is learned is not strictly determined in advance and can differ per participant. The digital "excuse" is a grateful and neutral access to intricate work on social cohesion.

For example: coach Jan learned how to convey information in a comprehensible way. Learner Mieke learned how to manage her banking affairs with an app on the smartphone. Learner Mona overcame her shyness of speaking in group. Paul of the equal opportunities service gets in touch with the local volunteers in his municipality. Hope who has not been living here very long, has met people from her neighborhood where she can go with questions concrening the choice of school for her daughter. Myra met her neighbor and offered to go to the store when he has trouble walking.

Partly because Digidak starts from the detected need to reduce the digital gap, the learning function is also interpreted as 'emancipation’, ‘empowerment' and 'subjectifyingor to acquire (influence on) social rules of the game. Learning within Digidak follows the growth pattern of the learner. All participants (coaches as well as learners) guide the process - in which the usefulness and meaning frames of the participants form the starting point.

The open learning processes and the organic growth pattern mean that coaches and learners (or 'visitors' of the walk-ins) learn to reach consensus, through the continuous process of communication and negotiation. The registration system constitutes an online platform for this. Digidak frames this in a way that the consensus that is formed in the concrete Digidak venues is documented in the editing of course material, agreements, training moments, included in team consultation and consultation with the sponsors. Those involved are co-owners of the learning design.

Digidak is committed to the community-building function, to get people together through the digital excuse to undertake the trajectory to increased socio-cultural participation in society as a group.

We support goal-oriented processes and practices that lead to the formation and support of groups and communities or enhance the interaction between groups and communities. To this end, we adapt our tools, such as our privacy policy which should allow participants to contact each other, but at the same time only allow this when done in an informed manner.

Within Digidak we consider the group of coaches of initiations walk-ins in a particular municipality as one group. Another group consists of all participants in a certain initiation and / or walk-in. Another way in which groups within Digidak can be distinguished is to belong to one (or several - cf. intersectionality) 'target groups'. A community within Digidak consists out of all participants (coaches, learners, visitors, employees): they share the Digidak practices and the Digidak method, and secondly they share the neighborhood / district in which they live and / or participate in Digidak. The latter community criterion ensures the sustainability of the community that is created within Digidak: where people get to know each other's neighbors at Digidak, relationships arise that continue outside Digidak and in their own neighborhood. The groups and communities around Digidak are shaped by socio-cultural practices (bonding). The interaction between the designated groups and communities is enhanced during participation in Digidak (bridging): people who differ from each other (different background, living conditions, frame of mind, work situation, ...) are connected with each other.

Social developments and phenomena such as individualisation, increasing diversity, migration, multiple identities, virtual identities bring along diverse and fragmented worlds : we no longer naturally share the same world. This has consequences for communities and community formation.

Networks between people, networks based on shared standards and trust make for the social capital of society. Digidak shapes community (bonding): we bring together people from the same neighborhood or district, coaches and learners experience each other as equals - across the different target groups. The latter also ensures bridging: learners can become coaches and vice versa, learners and coaches are part of different groups in society (intergenerational differences, differences in income, background, time use, knowledge, skills, ...). By betting on shared ownershipindependent operation with the Digidak framework as a "safe landing place" (moderation of the community formation process without steering), Digidak avoids that meeting leads to prejudice, segregation, racism and exclusion.

Neighbors who relate to each other on the basis of how different they are can now connect in learning together at Digidak, while everyone's learning process can be different. The ownership that participants have over the lesson content means that the learning processes go hand in hand with ongoing negotiation (cf. social learning).

In a community of communities, individuals have layered identities. This translates for Digidak into pursuing a target group mix with every activity, to give intersectionality a crucial place in social learning.

The community of communities that Digidak pursues in its operation is one with one social community dynamics: despite their differences, people get involved in something they find important together. To that end interaction between people is necessary.

Forms of commonality exist within the Digidak practices in developing and composing initiations on digital skills (collaborating on a certain task - practical communities), self-organization, scheduling and mutual assimilation of coaches (habit formation). Habituation and communities of practice exist among the learners who disseminate encounter with other learners sustainably beyond the bounds of the initiations: they meet afterwards, meet up, contact each other to register for another initiation in the Digidak offer. Bridging from learner to coach exists when learners themselves also shape the course material, identify specific needs, ask for training or guidance.

The teaching schedule for the initiations is structured in such a way that space and time are provided for bridging the differences between the people within the community. There is a balance between transfer of skills and knowledge (constructivist learning) and the peer learning of relating to each other (organic learning). Differences are used to start the dialogue.

The sources of the Digidak community formation lie in:

  •  mutual dependence: social learning can only be realized by and with the other person
  • shared values ​​and norms: "Being digitally up to date" or the digital excuse is important enough to come together - both for the voluntary coaches as for the learners ; the non-scholarly environment is a precondition for creating a safe environment
  • encounter: encounter takes place during the initiations and during the walks . Encounters provide a source of respect and tolerance and can be a breeding ground for community building.