Learning about the ‘Learning 2.0 Program” turned out to take much longer than I had originally planned. The original programme by PLCM took place in 2006 so I thought I’d have a look at some of the programmes that have happened since and what the most common changes were. The original 23 things are available on the Learning 2.0 Blog and participants were given 9 weeks to complete them. Although this seems like a mammoth task, not all of the 23 things involved learning and using something completely new. Each week had a theme and sometimes one of the things was simply discovering the new tool and having a play. Participants were required to set up a blog and record their progress on the blog and often the ‘thing’ involved posting their thoughts or uploading something they had found. The key idea is that this is learning not training and that learning should be fun. It’s not about finding the correct answer but exploring a new idea or tool and thinking about how it might be useful. Obviously this is the sort of learning that some people love and others hate – a marmite style perhaps?
To look at how the programme had developed I headed over to the full list of learning 2.0 libraries on delicious and had a look at just some of the 265 libraries who have registered. Many of the basic tools appear throughout, Bloglines is popular even in later programmes probably because it is so easy to produce a public view to share feeds although Google Reader is often mentioned as an alternative. What surprised me was how much some libraries packed into the programme. Introducing 2 or 3 new tools a week may not sound too bad if you’re already the sort of person who enjoys playing and exploring online but if you have never looked at blog before, only have 30 mins a week at work and don’t have a computer at home I can see how you would soon be overwhelmed. Orange County Library System offered different levels of learning – eXplore activities for each week which were mandatory for anyone who wanted the completion prize and then additional Adventure activities which were optional and rated according to difficulty. The Orange County programme also covers topics such as music copyright and creative commons and has obviously been designed to appeal to frontline public library staff but I’d be interested to know how much time they expected each topic to take.
Wake County Public Library ran their programme over 9 weeks but only included 13 things and although participants were told how to create a blog they only had to leave comments each week to qualify for a chance to win a prize. This programme had a more relaxed feel to it and it was made very clear what people needed to do ‘for credit’ as opposed to optional exploration.
Apparently I’ve chosen a good time to look at the Learning 2.0 idea. The latest issue of Library & Information Update (December 2008) appeared in my letterbox today and on page 6 I discovered an article about Lewisham Libraries and their Library 2.0 training! Unfortunately the article is only available to CILIP members but the Lewisham Web 2.0 Blog and Lewisham Web 2.0 Wiki are publicly available. In addition Lewisham have a presence on Facebook and MySpace, images on Picasa and even a YouTube channel! The article mentions that the team chose to provide more support for learners after hearing about low completion rates for some 23 Things courses and they are offering 1.5 hour training sessions on a variety of topics. I loved the quote from Information & Heritage Manager Julie Hall “Staff are eager to learn and want to develop Web 2.0 skills, but need support. Start small, keep it practical and let people go at their own speed and don’t be surprised when they come up with better ideas than you have on how you can use Web 2.0 in your service.” The best part is that this isn’t just being seen as an isolated training programme. Julie mentions the idea of Library 2.0 champions drawn from staff across the service and developing ongoing projects. Hmmm, wonder if I could commute to Lewisham…
So how do I decide what my 23 Things are? I’ve decided to follow the themes of the original programme and refer to a couple of other programmes for activities. I’ve started a ‘Life List’ on 43 things and number 1… is done!