What is digital learning, e-learning, online learning? Short answer, learning!

Laysha Ward, president of Community Relations for Target, published a fantastic post this week on the parallels between the different modes for learning. In her post Ward writes,

…we may be witnessing the death of “digital” — at least as an adjective. We don’t go “digital” shopping — we shop, online, by phone and in stores. We don’t read “digital” media — we read, on the printed page and on screens of every size.

Ward goes on to discuss classroom versus digital versus blended learning which many of us in the profession have been discussing for a decade. What’s exciting is to see this discussion taking place in mainstream media where everyday people can see what we’ve been saying for years. It’s all just learning!

Ward’s last paragraph really struck me as it’s something we’ve said about adult learning as well,

Too many of our students are not graduating from high school ready for a post-secondary education or a career in the 21st century economy. We know that, with the rate of technological change, those jobs will require a lifelong commitment to learning.

Laysha Ward as a Reading Buddy. Photo courtesy of Target

Laysha Ward as a Reading Buddy. Photo courtesy of Target

I would add that the same holds true for many students in undergraduate and graduate experiences as well. We still have professors teaching who do not value digital tools much less teach their students about them and how to use them in the workplace. I think this is one reason why workplace learning and development will continue to flourish in the 21st century. It’s one thing to have students who Tweet and have 1,000 Facebook friends. It’s another to have students, i.e. future workers, who know how to use those tools effectively in their jobs.

Ward’s post is a great read. Be sure to check it out!

Ward, Laysha. Re-Imagining Learning: Digital and Physical Convergence. Huffington Post. April, 23, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laysha-ward/reimagining-learning-digi_b_3135414.html.

What can libraries do to instill a lifetime of learning and relearning?

Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World is Flat, had a fantastic op-ed in the New York Times this week that says we need more than intelligence to survive in the 21st century and its economy. In the old days,” Friedman said, “it was assumed that your educational foundation would last your whole lifetime. That is no longer true.” Friedmans goes on to create some new acronyms declaring that we need “P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient).”

I can’t help but think the roles libraries play in these arenas. We’re all about passion, curiosity, and learning. We show it in the storytime we stay up all night preparing for. We show it in the conference presentation we spend weeks preparing for. We show it in the privacy rights we fight for. While these skills come natural some, how do we help instill these skills in our patrons? Our patrons who might be unemployed? Our patrons struggling to find new careers? Our patrons going back to school for the first time in twenty years?

Likewise, how do we help instill passion and curiosity in coworkers who might be hesitant to learn new technologies or new service models?

Friedmans writes in closing that P.Q. and C.Q. are essential to:

…leverage all the newdigital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.

When you think about the pace of change in our world you can see that Friedman is spot on. We can’t go to school for x number of years and say, “That’s it, I’m done.”

Darwin Quote

The world we live in requires constant learning and as libraries we are poised to become the center of lifelong learning in the community. Many of us have already discovered that learning = play + passion. Is it time to pass this message on to our communities? What can we do to teach the people in our communities not only the skills they need to find a job but the skills they need to develop a passion for lifelong learning…to play…to learn? There is no such thing as the 20 or 30 year job anymore–not even in libraries. We must all be prepared to prepare and adapt to the exponential change that technology and global communication brings.

If you want to see more, take a look at my slide deck on 21st century learning.