Dialogue Education is a popular education approach to adult education first described by educator Jane Vella in the 1980s. This approach to education draws on various adult learning theories, including those of Paulo Freire, Kurt Lewin, Malcolm Knowles and Benjamin Bloom (Global Learning Partners, 2006b; Vella, 2004). It is a synthesis of these theories into principles and practices that can be applied in a concrete way to learning design and facilitation. Dialogue Education is a form of Constructivism and can be a means for Transformative learning, (Vella, 2004).
Dialogue Education shifts the focus of education from what the teacher says to what the learner does, from learner passivity to learners as active participants in the dialogue that leads to learning (Global Learning Partners, 2006c). A dialogue approach to education views learners as subjects in their own learning and honours central principles such as mutual respect and open communication (Vella, 2002). Learners are invited to actively engage with the content being learned rather than being dependent on the educator for learning. Ideas are presented to learners as open questions to be reflected on and integrated into the learner's own context (Vella, 2004). The intent is that this will result in more meaningful learning that affects behaviour.