A hypermedia presentation of Francis de Sales' "Introduction to the Devout Life": Communicating a classic spirituality to a contemporary audience
Donald Jordan Heet, The Catholic University of America, United States
Doctor of Ministry, The Catholic University of America . Awarded
A number of authors, both secular and religious, have noted a hunger for spirituality in contemporary men and women. One of the classic Catholic works on spirituality is Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life. This project in ministry consists of a prototypic hypermedia program, which presents Francis de Sales' teaching on prayer and the sacraments and then allows the learners to explore the practical implications of that teaching by choosing one or more activities, each of which reflects a different learning style.
The theoretical foundation of the program rests on three legs: Salesian spirituality as expressed in the Introduction and interpreted by contemporary writers; an understanding of the various levels of faith development as described by James Fowler; and theories of adult education as expounded by Malcolm Knowles and David Kolb and applied to the technology of hypermedia.
The implementation of the project consisted of the production of a hypermedia computer program that presented four units drawn from Part 2 of the Introduction; each unit first summarized the material from the book and then invited the users to explore the topic further through one or more activities that reflected the Divergent, Assimilative, Convergent, and Accommodating styles of learning as described by David Kolb. The program also included an audio-visual presentation on the biography of Francis de Sales.
The program was distributed, via CDRom, to a pool of users. Their responses to the program were collected and analyzed. Although the field-test did not reveal any correlation between the user's learning style (as indicated by Kolb's Learning Style Inventory) and their choice of learning activities, their evaluation indicates that hypermedia offering a variety of learning activities is a promising mode of communicating a classic spirituality.
Heet, D.J. A hypermedia presentation of Francis de Sales' "Introduction to the Devout Life": Communicating a classic spirituality to a contemporary audience. Doctor of Ministry thesis, The Catholic University of America.
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