(Photo Courtesy of San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)
Here in the Distance Services Unit of Florida State University Libraries, we scan the environment for current trends in academic libraries and digital scholarship in order to develop pilot programs and services for the future of the library. In other words, we are always asking, “What’s Next?”. This will be an ongoing series that examines topics related to emerging trends and technologies in libraries. This week we will be discussing the idea of connected learning and how that applies to the future of academic libraries.
Connected Learning is a learning model developed by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative which connects learners to peers all around the world through social networks, is interest-driven according to the learner’s need. Connected Learning is interactive, and the potential has been realized through the advent of interactive technologies, from cloud computing to mobile devices, to the internet of things, to digital assistantship. It is modular by nature, so it can be appropriated for a variety of users and interests. It states that learning is most effective when it engages the information-seeker with information that is relevant to their interests.
This type of interactive learning is an educational conversation, as opposed to the more traditional one-way delivery of information which we might find in a lecture class or in the video delivered style of a Massive Open Online Course. Though these courses are taken by users for specific interests, completion rates are around 10%, activity generally dropping off after the first couple weeks. Libraries and educational institutions must rely on a more interactive model of instruction in order to retain student interest. It must become more succinct, more interest-directed, and more modular in order to fit into the lives of users and match more closely with their education expectations.
Currently we are researching, creating, and aggregating a suite of tutorials and interactive videos and digital tools which will be employed to inform and educate users in the use of digital services we offer. These short videos (around 1 minute) and instructionals are designed with connected learning in mind, so that users can learn at their own pace and connect our services with their particular area of research or interest.
In addition to the development of digital resources, FSU Libraries connects students with library resources through the provision of customizable instruction sessions on location. Our subject librarians work with professors to design classes of flexible length covering a wide range of topics, depending on the needs of the class. At the library we are in an unique position between formal and informal education, and the skills which users learn in these classes not only pertain to their studies, but will be invaluable in pursuit of their own self-directed interests.
But…What’s next? You may ask. A fully connected academic library of the future will offer most of its collection and services in digital form to ensure location independent user access, as well as integrating library resources with user data, applications, advising systems, courses, social media and interests. Through cloud computing and mobile or wearable technologies, users will have access to this data anywhere they go. Within the boundaries of the physical library, these devices, and thus the user’s data, will connect to a number of surfaces, materials, and resources located around the library, such as Bluetooth beacons, touchscreens, and advanced forms of the currently emergent digital technologies. Librarians will offer virtual instruction of information resources and supplemental instruction for courses and areas of research, available digitally and in person. The role which the library pioneers in linking users interest and education, will ensure the library of the future occupies an essential central connection in all realms of social, personal, and professional education.
The Distance and Accessibility Services Unit at Florida State University Libraries is charged with providing equitable access to services and resources for distance learning students and faculty as well as those at extended campus and branch campus locations. We act as point of contact and offer accessibility services to facilitate the research and learning of students with disabilities. No matter where you are in the world, the Distance Services Unit puts you in touch with the resources of Florida State University Libraries.
References and Further Reading:
Bilandzic, Mark. “Connected Learning in the Library as a Product of Hacking, Making, Social Diversity and Messiness.” Interactive Learning Environments (2013): 1–20. CrossRef. Web.
Bork, Alfred. “HIGHLY INTERACTIVE TUTORIAL DISTANCE LEARNING.” Information, Communication & Society 3.4 (2000): 639–644. CrossRef. Web.
“Connected Learning”, American Library Association, October 8, 2014. http://www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/future/trends/connectedlearning (Accessed January 15, 2016)
“Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design.” DML Central. Web. 15 Jan. 2016.
“Higher Education in the Connected Age.” Web. 15 Jan. 2016.
Peterson, Karyn M. “Libraries Play A Central Role in Connected Learning | The Digital Shift 2013.” The Digital Shift. Web. 15 Jan. 2016.
Peterson, Rachelle. “Why Do Students Drop Out of MOOCs? | National Association of Scholars.”, 10 Nov. 2013. Web. 15 Jan. 2016.
Stephens, Michael, and Kyle M. L. Jones. “Emerging Roles: Key Insights from Librarians in a Massive Open Online Course.” Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning 9.1-2 (2015): 133–147. CrossRef. Web.