I’d like to thank ACRL for hosting this IdeaPowerUnconference, which gives me the opportunity to vet an emerging idea among professionals.
Some say that Connectivism is: A fourth wave learning theory A move away from learning that is committed to memory Learning that occurs by making connections to people, resources, ideas, or all of the above. Meaning that lives in those connections, as long as the connections are strong, the meaning is as well.
This image illustrates the experience of learning via strong and weak ties.If I’m experiencing the scene as node 1, my weak tie to the woman in the checked skirt is strengthened because I’ve put myself in alignment with an information stream of nodes and hubs that ultimately connects me to her state, which might be node 2. The resource works because it strengthens my connective ties through a compelling story. i.e. My subscription to Life magazine puts me in contact with an editor who knows a good photographer who was at the event shown above. Those weak ties allow me to strengthen my network of meaning to experience shown above.In a debate scenario, those objecting to my learning will attack the information nodes I’ve assembled trying to disrupt the channel. For example, the editor might have an agenda, the photographer might have taken the photo out of context, etc.Analogs: Iranian, Egyptian, Libyan protestors, etc.Library analogs: round vs. flat world debates, big bang theory, evolution, global warming, etc.
One way to illustrate this connective learning is to think of it as establishing a “sympathetic connection”.Sympathy roots:- Biology with sympathetic neurons Charity as understanding Similar tastes and dispositions Music with harmonies, and sympathetic vibrations
Learners strengthen their ties to meaning through a Personal Learning Network: Discussion Debate Collaboration Investigation, etc. Personal Learning Networks require the learner combined with either other people and/or resources. Personal Learning Networks require a learning environment that fosters an exchange of information.
The personal learning networks of librarians are vast and varied. Not everyone thrives in this environment, however.
A traditional personal learning network might be thought of as the individual “life of the mind”; a mix of community members, mass media, and print resources.
In contrast, a learner such as a Computer Science major might rely almost entirely on their “internet friends”.
Another possible learning might rely on a mix of networks that are both digital and face-to-face.
Paradoxically, networked learning may be driving the use of library spaces because learners have a need to strengthen their network ties. Discussion Debate Collaboration Investigation, etc.The challenge is then to create a space that meets the network needs of learners.
A sympathetic learning space is then a place where ideas can be shared without artificial hindrances.
You know it’s working when you see mobs of students and smiling faces.
So my final question is: “What does it mean for the reference desk to be in sympathetic alignment with our patron’s learning networks?”
Networked Learning and Sympathetic Spaces in Libraries
Define : Sympathetic<br /><ul><li> … of or relating to the sympathetic nervous system; "sympathetic neurons"; "sympathetic stimulation"
… charitable: showing or motivated by sympathy and understanding and generosity; "was charitable in his opinions of others"; "kindly criticism"; "a kindly act"; "sympathetic words"; "a large-hearted mentor"
… having similar disposition and tastes; "with their many similar tastes, he found her a most sympathetic companion"
…harmonic: relating to vibrations that occur as a result of vibrations in a nearby body; "sympathetic vibration"</li></li></ul><li>