Friday, May 14, 2010

What do you NOT want to learn?

At this year's LAA Conference, I had the privilege of attending Lauren DeBruin’s session “Willing Engagement: Overcoming Learner Resistance in Library Staff.” Some of you may remember Lauren from the Southern Alberta Library Conference, where she presented a session on the language learning software AuralLog. With her enthusiastic speaking style and thought-provoking topic, Lauren started me thinking about why we choose not to learn and my own resistance to learning.

In Lauren’s presentation she explained that learning is actually a crisis experience. People react to learning by going through the same steps associated with a large upheaval in their lives: destabilization, disorientation, and re-orientation. When a change (ie. learning) occurs our way of thinking or doing something is disrupted and, therefore, destabilized. We then become lost and yearn for the way things used to be as we wade through disorientation. Finally, when we have had some time to become comfortable with something, we accept the new material and, eventually, start to engage with it in the last stage - reorientation.

As a technology-focused librarian, I have struggled with learning new things many times. I was a late adopter of Facebook, have only recently started using SiteJot and Bloglines, and am still working up the courage to create my own blog. And why, might you ask? Because learning is scary – especially learning new technologies! Luckily, in my learning travels, I have also run across some amazing resources that have helped familiarize me with new technologies, especially in the area of social networking.

While at Oakville Public Library, I learned about 23 Things, a list created by the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County for their Learning 2.0 Program. The list includes challenges like set up your own blog, explore Flickr, and discover 23 Things is laid out in a 10 week program so you can gradually do each thing. Even if you have no idea what these things are, these easy-to-use guides will show how to begin playing with these tools, even if you choose not to us them indefinitely.

The other wonderful social networking resource I know of is Common Craft. Common Craft is a company that makes short videos about social networking tools and posts them to YouTube. They use paper cut outs to explain things in the simplest terms and the videos are super fun to watch! My favourite videos from them are:
So if you want, check it out! Even if you don’t end up signing on with one of these tools, you might learn enough about them that the next time you hear something new mentioned it won't be so scary. Now, to start writing my blog …

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