IFLA 2013: Conceptualising the learning organisation - Gillian Hallam, Andrew Hiskens, Rebecca Ong

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Presentation at IFLA 2013 on the development of a maturity framework to develop a shared understanding of the library's role in literacy and learning

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  • Good morning, my name is Andrew Hiskens and I'm the Manager of Learning Services at the State Library of Victoria [slide - facade]
  • in Melbourne Australia [slide - Google maps].
  • I'm also the co-chair with Rebecca Ong from SLWA in Perth of the NSLA (National and State Libraries of Australasia) Literacy and Learning Group.
    Gill – Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), also the Nexus report on library skills
  • Our paper is titled 'Conceptualising the learning organisation: creating a maturity framework to develop a shared understanding of the library's role in literacy and learning‘.
    Format:
    AH - intro and context
    GH - the framework and how it works
    AH - what next and where to from here...
    So I’m doing the ‘human interest’ bits, and Gill is doing the framework itself…
    [Next – NSLA]
  • NSLA – the National and State Libraries of Australasia - represents the state and territory libraries from around Australia and the National Libraries of Australia and New Zealand.
    The libraries work collaboratively to strengthen the information infrastructure in Australia and New Zealand, to share expertise and work together on joint projects, achieving more collectively than they could individually.
    NSLA also provides a single voice for members to governments, stakeholders and to other parts of the library, cultural and education sectors.
    The Literacy and Learning Group was established to identify opportunities for NSLA libraries to take a leadership role in literacy and learning, and it is one of these opportunities that we’re here to talk about this morning...
    [Next – LLG]
  • The NSLA LLG’s work “combines advocacy (promoting the important role of libraries in both formal and informal education) with development of organisational capability as learning organisations, and best practice for library programs and partnerships” (NSLA, 2011).
    The matrix project has really focussed on addressing these last 2 things:
    Organisational capability, and
    Best practice.
    [Next – whiteboard from Willunga]
  • The idea for a ‘maturity matrix’ to support the development of NSLA libraries’ capabilities as learning organisations sprang almost fully formed from the LLG’s collective imagination at its face-to-face meeting in June 2012.
    The initial discussions identified that the process should be self-evaluated and reviewed by peers (through a 'critical friends' process), that it should scale from emerging to developing to active learning institution, and that it would need the ‘bifocal’ view of an internal and a public lens.
    Essentially, the idea was that: if we are truly learning organisations, then…
  • …we should model good learning in everything we do...
    The desired outcomes were:
    to develop a greater understanding of each NSLA library’s capability on the continuum of development from ‘emerging’ to ‘active’ learning institutions.
    to consider the potential pathways towards maturity and
    to introduce improved strategies for evaluating the libraries’ literacy and learning programs.
    In a way, the matrix was designed to be a bit like the Babel fish in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - a universal translator that neatly crosses the language divide between any species. But in this case, it is a common reference which spans organisational cultures.
  • Ultimately, the matrix is designed to be a tool for better conversations, and sharing...
    Particularly about:
    Organisational capability, and
    Best practice.
    …as noted earlier.
    I’ll now pass over to Gill, to talk about the matrix itself and explain how it works…
  • From the matrix brief…
  • So how does the implementation work?
    A couple of member libraries have run trial uses – which I will talk about in a moment…
    Once there are enough libraries who have run a workshop or implemented it in some way, we will set up a ‘critical friends’ process, and finally
    Beyond that, we will look at the idea of designing some diagnostic tools to assist in the use of the matrix.
  • Different methodologies:
    ACT workshop – which used a ‘human graph’ to capture the diversity of views
    Tasmania – worshop of senior managers drawn from the diverse range of Business Units across the organisation. Used coloured stickers to rank and rate…
  • It’s difficult to capture ‘richness’/diversity. You tend to rate somewhere on the matrix for one part of the organisation, elsewhere on another, or between a couple of domains. It was difficult to give an overall score because there is so much diversity. Some doubt as to how representative an overall score for the library would be.
    Some people rated according to the points in the domains (as definition for the domain name), others were more influenced by the domain names themselves (applying their own definition above & beyond the dot points).
    Suggestion: the best way to rate on the matrix is to start at the right hand side and work backwards – from what we are not doing, til you find what we are. 
    The matrix would have to be applied a bit differently for public libraries, state libraries, and school libraries. 
    Something more pictorial would be helpful
    Participants found the human graph method helpful.
  • Confusion about how to interpret the ‘external’ dimension of the matrix (‘there is a divide between the library thoughts on what customers think we are doing and customer thoughts on what we are doing’). 
    Precisely the point!!
  • On the one hand people said the language was easy and clear; on the other, some people said it was subjective, ambiguous, open to interpretation.
    Yes...
    It was great that all levels [of staff] were invited to participate as it is hard to look at all areas when you work at a particular level. 
  • “Overall I found the matrix achieved its goal of allowing libraries to map out their progress towards the NSLA’s goal for libraries.”   
  • Workshop preparation:
    Participants were reminded of the context of the NSLA Literacy and Learning project aim to improve the organisational comprehension and practice as learning institutions and the clear connection to LINC Tasmania’s goals and objectives.
    Participants were provided with the maturity matrix and asked to consider their own Business Unit in relation to the matrix.
    Preparation of A3 copies of the matrix with only the headings remaining (1 set per group of 5-6)
    Workshop:
    Participants were senior managers drawn from the diverse range of Business Units across the organisation: archives, Urban and regional LINCs, literacy, community learning, reference services, support services.
    Participants worked in groups of 4-6 and each manager had 6 coloured dots (sticky labels) which they placed in the appropriate domain on the matrix. They were asked to explain their choice providing some evidence for that decision.
    After completing the group work the organisation is represented visually spread across the domains.
    Participants were asked to complete a short survey via Survey Monkey and given a week to respond.
  • Analysis of Workshop and Survey (BUT VERY SMALL SAMPLE…)
    Overall, participants who responded to the survey were enthusiastic about the tool and its usefulness as a way of engaging with staff in the organisation.
    The majority found the matrix easy to use and understand but16.7 % did not. (Q2)
  • The usefulness of the internal and external focus received a wider spread of responses than most other questions(Q3)
  • 85% are likely to use the matrix with their team, with 60% indicating this is very likely (Q 5)
  • Ways in which managers are likely to use the tool with teams are:
    45.5% for reference
    36.4% as an activity
    90.9% as a planning tool
    81.8% for professional development
  • During the matrix exercise I found each person's insight into how each of their group 'fitted' into the matrix very helpful to my own thinking
  • The quote goes on to say – “A critical friend takes the time to fully understand the context of the work presented and the outcomes that the person or group is working toward. The friend is an advocate for the success of that work” (Costa, A. and Kallick, B. (1993), ‘Through the Lens of a Critical Friend’, Educational Leadership 51 (2) 49-51)
    The brief for the development of the matrix noted that the Critical Friends process:
    “will aim to be quick, but not perfect. It will use the matrix as the tool for evaluation. We will not be prescriptive about how it should be applied, although this will draw on the lessons learnt from the various pilots. We will randomise the pairing of NSLA Libraries drawing names out of a hat, ensuring that there are no reciprocating pairs (ie if A is the critical friend of B, B will not be the critical friend of A).
    We will not expect the information that we get out of the critical friends process to be definitive, but we will use/share it at a future meeting (teleconference or face to face) with the critical friend presenting on the organisation which he/she ‘befriended’.
    This process will then be used to surface the programs/activities/things which we think are ‘interesting’ and potential candidates for formal evaluation.”
    At out last LLG meeting in July, it was agreed that the ACT, LINC Tasmania and SLQ will pilot this process once SLQ has run its staff .
  • It is intended that the findings from the maturity matrix workshops will contribute to a kind of cumulative set of guidelines, to be formalised in 2014 with a view to public release alongside a diagnostic tool. The design of the diagnostic tool (most likely a survey) will require good data from all library workshops.
  • and finally…
  • …how could I resist a popular culture reference to the 1999 film The Matrix?
    In the movie, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow him to remain in the fabricated reality of the Matrix. The red pill would lead to his escape from the Matrix and into the "real world".
    The blue pill and its opposite, the red pill, are pop culture symbols representing the choice between the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue) and embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red).
    So, to mix pop culture metaphors, our matrix potentially serves the same purpose as the red pill - embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality…to become mature learning organisations…
    Thank you…
  • IFLA 2013: Conceptualising the learning organisation - Gillian Hallam, Andrew Hiskens, Rebecca Ong

    1. 1. Conceptualising the learning organisation: Creating a maturity framework to develop a shared understanding of the library’s role in literacy and learning Gillian Hallam Andrew Hiskens Rebecca Ong IFLA, Singapore, 19 August, 2013
    2. 2. 2 —Image: raviahuja http://www.flickr.com/photos/raviahuja/9004273274/in/pool-slv/
    3. 3. 3—Google Maps
    4. 4. 5
    5. 5. The Literacy and Learning Group’s work: “combines advocacy…with development of organisational capability as learning organisations, and best practice for library programs and partnerships”
    6. 6. 7
    7. 7. “if we are truly learning organisations, we should model good learning in everything we do...”
    8. 8. The matrix = a tool for better conversations and sharing...
    9. 9. The project brief • A self-evaluation matrix to enable libraries to assess their perceived stage of maturity as ‘learning institutions’ – The delivery of literacy and learning programs for constituent communities – Constantly evolving organisational understanding and practice of the power of learning • To allow for peer review – Critical friends – Formal evaluation of specific programs • A tool for shared understanding about: – Where we are now – Where we are hoping to go • To lead to productive outcomes in terms of developing capabilities that are identified and valued by – Our staff – the ‘internal’ perspective – Our communities – the ‘external’ perspective
    10. 10. • Literature review – Learning organisations – Maturity models – Measurement tools • Senge’s five disciplines (Senge, 1990, 2006) • INVEST model (Pearn et al, 1997) • Iterations of the maturity framework – mainly the ‘internal’ organisational perspective • Essential to have the ‘external’ community lens
    11. 11. LLG activities • Draft the model • Conference calls • Review and refine the draft • Skype meetings • More reviewing and refining • Face-to-face discussions • Review and refine further • Workshop in Brisbane
    12. 12. Learning and learners - the internal lens
    13. 13. Learning and learners - the external lens
    14. 14. The ‘elements of learning’ “It is hoped that the framework will enable new understandings of relationships between different and distinct elements of the NSLA Libraries’ learning ‘offer’, in the same way that the periodic table enables an understanding of the properties and inter- relationships of the chemical elements.”
    15. 15. Where to next? • Trials • ‘Critical friends’ process • Diagnostics…
    16. 16. Trial uses:
    17. 17. ACT Libraries “It’s difficult to capture ‘richness’/diversity. You tend to rate somewhere on the matrix for one part of the organisation, elsewhere on another, or between a couple of domains.”
    18. 18. ACT Libraries “there is a divide between the library thoughts on what customers think we are doing and customer thoughts on what we are doing...”
    19. 19. ACT Libraries “On the one hand people said the language was easy and clear; on the other, some people said it was subjective, ambiguous, open to interpretation...”
    20. 20. ACT Libraries “Overall I found the matrix achieved its goal of allowing libraries to map out their progress towards the NSLA’s goal for libraries.”
    21. 21. LINC Tasmania
    22. 22. LINC Tasmania
    23. 23. LINC Tasmania
    24. 24. LINC Tasmania 29
    25. 25. LINC Tasmania “During the matrix exercise I found each person's insight into how each of their group 'fitted' into the matrix very helpful to my own thinking.”
    26. 26. Critical Friend “a trusted person who asks provocative questions, provides data to be examined through another lens, and offers critiques of a person’s work as a friend. “ - Costa, A. and Kallick, B.
    27. 27. and finally… 33
    28. 28. References • Giesecke, J. & McNeil, B. (2004). Transitioning to the learning organization. Library Trends, 53(1), 54-67. • NSLA (2012) Position statement on literacy and learning. www.nsla.org.au/publication/position-statement-literacy-and-learning • Pearn, M., Roderick, C. & Mulrooney, C. (1995). Learning organizations in practice. London: McGraw-Hill. • Rheingold, H. (2012). Syllabus: Social media literacies. MIT Press. http://mitpress.mit.edu/files/rheingoldsyllabus.pdf • Senge, P. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday. • Senge (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization (Rev.ed.). Milsons Point, NSW: Random House.

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