Dr. Jane Vella helped transform how learning events in child survival/health programs are designed and led globally through her work, Dialogue Education ™. Workshops, trainings and conferences changed as organizations acquired training and integrated the adult learning theory for effective learning, transfer and retention of knowledge. The methodology shifted from the traditional monologue, which focuses on what the teacher says, to learners’ active participation by considering their knowledge and experience, then designing the events accordingly. To date, 3,500 graduates in 60 countries utilize Dialogue Education in training and development, including those for frontline health workers, staffs and trainers in health programs.
Jane gained her insight on the adult learning principles as educator for 57 years in 35 countries in Africa (27 years in Tanzania where she taught as a Maryknoll Sister), Asia and the Americas (also US). Dr. Vella studied the emerging system of Dialogue Education as her doctoral research at the University of Massachusetts and wrote 7 popular books on this subject. As Director of Training of Save the Children (1984-1989), she and her staff expanded the use of Dialogue Education to the fields in diverse cultural settings, and the resulting reports became the basis of her book Learning to Listen Learning to Teach. Jane developed training materials such as: Learning to Teach for Training of Trainers in Community Development -1998 (Save the Children) and Developing Health Journalist (with Julian Beamish for Family Health International) for journalists reporting on health issues. From then on, Dialogue Education has been adopted by many PVOs doing child survival and development work (Aga Khan University, Catholic Relief Services, CRWRC, CORE Group, Food for the Hungry, Freedom from Hunger, Save the Children, and World Vision etc.) In 1981, Jane founded Global Learning Partners (GLP) to develop a network of certified teachers and practitioners of Dialogue Education.