Sunday, December 18, 2005

Learning Ecologies (thanks to Nancy and Darren!)

Lifted this (like some earlier things) from Nancy White at Full Circle ... she tends to come across the coolest and most poignant thoughts on communities, and specifically communities of practice (CoP). If you haven't yet, check out her stuff ... I love her brain!

Okay, so anyway, she came across the idea of learning ecologies from Darren Kuropatwa ...

An ecology is an environment that fosters and supports the creation of
communities ... A learning ecology is an environment that is consistent with
(not antagonistic to) how learners learn ... The Instructor plays the role of gardener.

What are the needs of a learning ecology? Learning/knowledge is more than
static content. It's a dynamic, living, and evolving state. Within an ecology, a
knowledge sharing environment should have the following components:

  • Informal, not structured
  • Tool-rich
  • Consistency and time
  • Trust
  • Simplicity
  • Decentralized, fostered, connected
  • High tolerance for experimentation and failure

And Nancy adds her own flavor ... that ecologies have to possess a high tolerance for ambiguity and diversity.

Lapping it up, I thought of my library's own coming-of-age journey as an environment for learning and knowledge ... our attempts to set up a leadership institute have met much of the same hesitancy and sideway glances that a recent gaming project have ... and the reasons ? ... Well, we've probably paid too little attention to Darren's (and Nancy's) components ...

The two projects I referred to above have to this point lived only on the internal synapses of our organization ... so it's not hard to see why we run square into turbulent seas when the winds of changing identities blow across our paths ... Libraries that take up the challenge of being more than a collection of books to lend need to think about how they will create and deliver new (but still on-mission) services by adhering to the ecological components ... failure to do so will simply lead to ... well, failure.

Thanks again to Darren and Nancy! Cheers!

3 Comments:

Blogger Mr. Kuropatwa said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Mr. Kuropatwa said...

Hi TIm,

You're welcome. I thought you should know that the quote from my OLÉ workshop is actually a quote I made from the work of George Siemans. You can read his original article here.

Cheers!
Darren

4:19 PM  
Blogger Nancy White said...

Hey Tim, it is great to know someone is picking up some value from my blatherings! :-) Thanks.

12:08 AM  

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