Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and Foundational Studies


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Keith W. Thiede, Ph.D.

Major Advisor

Julianne A. Wenner, Ph.D.


David A. Gabbard, Ph.D.


Tom A. Steffen, Ph.D.


This research documents the experience of 12 local leaders implementing an oral curriculum over 13 months in Karnataka, India. These leaders were Change Agents interested in influencing a community with new information. They created audio materials referred to as “content” in their group’s mother tongue: In a Kannada-Telegu mix for the Madiga group (a Scheduled Caste); in Vaagri Booli for the Hakkipikki group (a Scheduled Tribe); and in Kannada for the Kannadiga group. The first two languages are unwritten. The Kannada language is the official language of Karnataka state. The oral curriculum followed the Spoken Worldwide® model. Each team of local leaders designed their content by combining a topic, a local proverb, and an informative resource in story form. Next, the individual leaders facilitated discussion groups in their community centered on the content. Eighteen men were interviewed; this included six community discussion group members.

The Connected Learning Framework was the conceptual lens for this research. It consists of four constructs—relationship, relevance, oral modes of communication, and mutual respect. Relationships played a primary role because the learners preferred to work with individuals they knew, or with individuals who were approved by the community’s leaders. Content that centered on what was relevant to community members was well-received by the listeners. The leaders used modes of communication that were familiar to community members by presenting content in the mother tongue and including local proverbs. By facilitating discussion after presenting the content, the leaders demonstrated mutual respect ensuring a multidirectional flow of information. This informed how the leaders created subsequent content.

This research found that introducing new ideas, specifically Christian Scripture as a source of wisdom, was received positively by almost all audiences. In addition, the Team Leaders who had more experience using oral modes of communication, specifically telling Bible stories, and facilitating discussion were more consistent in implementing the Spoken process and principles and modeled the process during the content creation sessions with their Local Leaders or in presenting the content in their Leader’s gatherings. These leaders who had more experience with Connect Learning strategies were able to navigate further in the oral learning paradigm.