23 April 02004

Cultivating unprogrammed learning

There are some intriguing observations in Measuring the Outcomes and Impact of Learning in Museums Archives and Libraries. For example, "Not all museums, archives and libraries see themselves as places that should primarily on the learning experiences of their users," and apparently many of these organisations do not know why people use their materials and what they learn from them.

On the one hand, this is counter-intuitive: what would you use use an archive for if not to find out stuff and learn from it? On the other hand, it's clear that, confronted with the totality of any library or museum, no-one could anticipate the learning outcomes that any one user would take away.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council has set itself the challenging but worthy task of helping organisations "anticipate and respond to many of the wider social challenges by developing socially and culturally relevant opportunities for learning."

In formal education and training settings the learning outcomes are specified and learning experiences can be programmed and engineered to that end. In the less structured settings of museums and archives, the challenge is to create environments where learning can happen: gardening provides a better metaphor than engineering, as the aim is to provide fertile resources that enable users to germinate new understandings.

Posted by David Jennings in section(s) Curatorial, E-learning on 23 April 02004 | TrackBack
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