Face-to-face learning opportunities are limited in both time and space, but new technologies have opened up the possibility of stretching learning experiences well beyond student-teacher interactions in a classroom setting. Two gatherings in 2012 – the first held in Reading, England, and the second in Misano, Italy – brought together representatives from a number of Bible agencies (among them the Nida Institute, UBS Global Translation, SIL International, The Seed Company, and the Netherlands Bible Society) to collaboratively explore how distance learning platforms could be used to effectively improve training for Bible translation. 

The result was the creation of MAP (‘Modular Aggregation of Principles’ for Bible translation), the virtual learning environment now used by the Nida Institute to foster participation and dialogue among participants before, during, and after all of its training events. In its content, MAP has been able to preserve the best of the pedagogical practices and the wealth of concrete examples found in past translation manuals, while in its form, it leverages the power and potential of new media ecologies to support creative pedagogies, as well as collaborative learning and resource sharing.

Two technologies are currently used to support this dynamic and constantly-evolving multimedia ecosystem: Bloomfire provides a space for the aggregation of resources of all sorts, as well as for broad-ranging dialogue and the posing of questions. Canvas LMS is the platform used to create more structured, specific curricular spaces tailored to the needs of particular, localized learning communities. The Nida Institute provides all administrative and technical support for MAP, but interagency participation in generating content and sustaining conversation is essential to the health and potential of the ecosystem. 

MAP continually strives to find sustainable ways to put the best of current and cutting edge academic research into conversation with the theory and practice operative in local translation teams in hopes of creating networks of learning communities that will enrich the future of Bible translation worldwide.

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