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9/20/2006

Learning 2.0 – Steal this idea update

When Michael Stephens blogged about “stealing this idea” over a month ago, he wasn’t kidding. :) For those of you that have been following the Learning 2.0 project, I’m happy to report that L2 fever is spreading, not only here at PLCMC but also worldwide.*

In the past few weeks I’ve been contacted by at least a dozen different library systems who are planning (or are at least looking at) duplicating this discovery program. - yeah!! I had planned (and still do) to share a “lessons learned” post at the end of program, but given that I’m already getting lots of inquiries for tips and advice, I thought I’d share at least a few thoughts that have already cemented. Here they are in no particular order …

  • Design the program to accommodate late bloomers - Although it was by design that I built in two weeks on the front end for staff to jump on board before really diving into the exercises, the bulk of the PLCMC staff participants didn’t jump on board until week 4 and 5. Even this week (#7) I still had eight new staff members register. At this point in the program I’m am definitely glad I added three weeks onto the end. This has not only given busy staff a bit breathing room to catch-up, but it’s also allowed those late bloomers time to observe the L2 pool for awhile before jumping in.

  • Use 1.0 (.75) methods to continually communicate. Most participants have kept up with the exercises either through the links provided in a weekly emails or through the staff Intranet. Don’t expect participants to use 2.0 technologies (RSS) to keep up with the program. Your need to use technologies that they are already comfortable with in order to continually reach them.

  • Allow participants to blog anonymously. This makes it more comfortable for staff to jump on board. And I have been told by many staff that this element has also made it more entertaining … trying to figure who is who is half the fun! I, of course, have access to the intranet Tracking Log that participants use to track their progress, but even I can’t keep up with 300 + screen names. :)

  • Encourage staff to participate together. I have been amazed by some of the stories I am hearing of staffs coming together to encourage and support each other with all this learning. At one branch, staff from the Information desk are covering the Circulation desk for a few hours each week, just so circulation staff can go back on the PCs and do an hour of “play.” At another small branch, the whole team is doing it together and at a very large branch a staff member recently told me that it was the first time in her year there that she had seen staff “cross training” across departments (Circ, children’s & information) and doing something together. It’s so wonderful to hear about these unexpected outcomes … which makes me believe that L2 is much more than just learning, it also about creating community.

Anyway… there’s more lessons learned to come. But these are the initial ones and above all “just encourage staff to discover and have fun!”

In case you’re curious. Registered staff participants are up to 311. Of these I would estimate currently that 250 are active. Yes, the bill for the MP3 players may hit the budget’s limit. But with the learning, ideas and community that it's helping to build this investment is so small compared to the benefits.

Again I can't thank Charles Brown, Director and Carol Myers, Asst. Director, enough for supporting this endeavor. This program is producing so many positive outcomes that I'm wondering what we can possibly do as an encore. :)

BTW: I'm also pleased to share that our Asst Director and every member of the library's leadership group is blogging and participating too! :)

* Among several other library systems here in the US that have contacted me, the Yarra Plenty Regional Library Library in Melbourne, Australia is also inviting staff to participate in their own Learning 2.0.

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2 comments:

Retired t-l said...

Helene, as one of those worldwide participants I want to say again how eye-opening this exercise is! I am anxious to share my Learning 2.0 experience with my former shchool's staff. BTW I came across this information because I can now use Bloglines. Again many thanks.

Library Lady said...

I'm just thrilled! I talked to the computer guru at our small college and she is all game to do the program next semester! She even offered to be the technical writer! She knows nothing of blogs/wikis/rss so she is doing the program, too.

Now if I can just get network on board...

Thanks for allowing us to "steal this idea!"
Maggie