Week 9 Thing 23: The end and the beginning

Wow have 9 weeks gone by already?

I knew this was a great idea from the moment Helene told me about it. I am also surprised at how many other libraries have picked up the idea and caught on. Every time I talk to someone from another library system the first thing I hear is, “Oh you guys are the ones that started the Learning 2.0 thing…”

Like Salad Days mentions it was really great to see a shift in the attitudes of some co-workers. I know of one person in particular (you know who you are) who I never thought would come to love technology.

I would say that the program was a huge success. What worked:

  • The fact that the entire program was created and participants used only free Web 2.0 tools that are readily available to anyone. I think this is a huge benefit and one of the things that has made other libraries so interested in following along with this program.
  • Little instruction. There were no classes and only two tutorials. This was truly an exercise in self-learning and discovery. Staff relied on each other for help and hopefully gained more confidence in themselves and in other staff as both learners and instructors. I heard some comments that the instructions were too vague, but I think that if they were more specific it might have defeated the purpose of the activities.
  • Creative scheduling at branches. I was so impressed when I heard that reference staff from Mint Hill were covering the desk for circulation staff so that circulation staff had time to blog. Way to go Mint Hill!

What could be improved:

  • Accommodations for staff who were not ready for this level of Web 2.0. I can see clearly now that if you learn a skill you must continue to use it or you will forget. Whose responsibility is it to make sure that learners continue to practice skills that they learn? The trainer? The learner? The supervisor? In Core Competencies training last year all staff learned the basics of using the Internet, but some staff never used the Internet past the Core Competencies training. In the beginning they were very excited and enthusiastic about Learning 2.0 but quickly became frustrated when they realized they did not have the basic skills needed to participate. I wish that I would have had more time to work with these people one on one to help them more. Now that Learning 2.0 is wrapping up, how will we keep staff interested in Web 2.0?

Other thoughts:

  • I’ve heard a lot of buzz and excitement around the incentives for this program. I think it is great that we are able to offer these, but I also hope that more staff come away from this feeling that the learning and experience was enough of an incentive to participate, and that they will participate in more self-directed learning in the future. Jersey Girl expressed this really well in her final post:

    I have to admit that in the beginning an MP3 player was the end in my mind. But along the way I learned that that was not all I was going to achieve when I finished this program. I learned about myself and what I can accomplish and I learned about my coworkers and what interests them in and outside of work. I also got to meet some people at other branches, through their blogs, that I might not have met otherwise. I learned that you can start out on one path expecting one thing and meander along to find the end is not what you expected, but that it is still okay. That to me is a great ending.

    We will soon be offering opportunities for staff to participate in live online training. I hope that the experiences with Learning 2.0 have helped to prepare and make staff feel more comfortable in trying out another new learning environment.

About Lori Reed

Lori Reed, coauthor of Workplace Learning & Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Non-Profit Trainers, is a learning and communication strategist with more than twenty years experience in learning and development. A 2009 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and a 2010 "One to Watch" for paralibrarians, Lori graduated cum laude from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication. Lori is a certified Synchronous Learning Expert and a North Carolina Master Trainer and has traveled across North America speaking about libraries and training.

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