Posts Tagged library learning space

How Libraries and Learning Theory are Put into Practice

Librarians have the opportunity to guide patrons on their quest for research information, both online and in the stacks, gradually aligning the responsibility of the learning to the learner themselves. Directed learning activities (DLAs) can help academic libraries engage in active learning support.

Instituted by many college libraries and learning resource centers, students can build their skills through the completion of a series of practice activities. DLAs can be effective in teaching grammar, writing, computer technology, Internet navigation, the possibilities are endless.

In 1968 Malcolm Knowles projected the ancient Greek word “andragogy” into educational discourse, as the art and science of helping students learn. As opposed to pedagogy, andragogy focuses only on the adult learning experience. Terminology aside, in defining a way to reach adult learners educators provide differentiated learning strategies addressing how adults learn in contrast to how children learn.

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy and adult learning strategies, librarians can create a library service program that can both actively engage and promote cooperative learning amongst students. Libraries can help foster lifelong learning DLA’s to adults and assist with community college retention rates and remediation.

Shifting from directed learning strategies, libraries offer other opportunities for self-directed learning (SDL).  As a cornerstone of adult learning theory, SDL’s are dominant in the world of e-learning.  The development of hybrid and online courses; digital library archives that provide the learner with unique data mining opportunities. Libraries are natural places for self-directed inquiry and learning.

How can these adult learning strategies work toward economic growth?

Self-directed public library spaces can be a useful tool to help small businesses and individuals gain access to information; which in turn contributes to learning opportunities. Libraries provide a useful location for informed collaboration. With endless resources at your fingertips, the library can successfully put theory into practice.

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the language of library space

A recent article from Inside Higher Education focuses on the need to balance quiet and active spaces in the library. Project Information Literacy study found that students minimize technology use and try to unplug from their overly distracting social networks when working on projects or studying for exams.

During our library planning studies, we have found that all libraries need environments that allow for social, group and individual study. The library plan should include:

  • active space – information commons, learning commons, group collaboration, etc.
  • quiet space – contemplative space for study.
  • According to “The Future of the Academic Library Symposium: Bridging the Gap, Libraries – “need to be in a state of perpetual beta to effect change.” We believe libraries need to experiment with both quiet and active space.

    The University of North Carolina started a Journal of Learning Spaces that is a good place to start an analysis of library space needs. We recommend the journal as a starting point for discussion.

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    Future Libraries and Learning Systems

    Steelcase Collaborative workarea

    Steelcase Collaborative workarea

    During our workshop at Steelcase on November 9, 2010, we researched different types of learning spaces. This picture is from the Steelcase worklife building in NYC. It is a good place to experience new types learning spaces to aid in the design of future orientated libraries.

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    Online Learning Spaces – Library Learning Spaces

    For better or for worse, libraries and archives need to be able to maintain collections, migrating them from one building to another, converting physical space into learning spaces. We know that the library must deliver a suite of complex services necessary to maintain the collection in well-established formats. An assumption of formats do not do justice to the challenges libraries face. The delivery of digital objects is by no means sufficient for successful learning. We must develop better learning spaces too.

    The research shows that we do better when the academy provides shared learning space. The NY Times article:
    Learning in Dorm, Because Class Is on the Web” – outlines the new ways education is delivered and new technology that is having an impact on the need for good learning spaces. We know there is one way to improve student success and that is to provide real learning spaces. Places with productivity tools and professional staff (librarians) to support learning.

    One web site that proves the point is – “Is it Live or is it Internet? Experimental Estimates of the Effects of Online Instruction on Student Learning.” In a NY Times article, “Live vs. Distance Learning: Measuring the Differences” – TRIP GABRIEL states: “An analysis of 99 studies by the federal Department of Education concluded last year that online instruction, on average, was more effective than face-to-face learning.”

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