#astd2013 Learning Environments by Design: Curating resources for complex learning needs

As I continue to post my notes and observations from the ASTD 2013 conference, this one is about curating resources by Dr. Catherine Lombardozzi, Learning 4 Learning Professionals. In a presentation called Learning Environments by Design: Curating resources for complex learning needs, Lombardozzi explores the use of curation for supporting organizational learning needs.

The complete slidedeck can be viewed from her site.

Lombardozzi began by looking at the learning challenges. On one hand, you have learners with a well defined role and specific things to learn, and on the other hand, you have learners with multi-faceted roles and skill sets. Add to that the need for mobile learning due to a dispersed group of learners.

When setting up a learning environment, she begins by answering two important questions: Who are the learners who need robust environments? and What resources do they need?

Lombardozzi explained that a learning environment is a collection of resources and activities for learning, and a well-designed environment is deliberately curated with a specific need in mind. There are also different types of learning environments:

  • Personal Learning Networks (personally-curated)
  • Communities of practice (group-curated)
  • Designed environment (created by curator for a specific learning need.)

What is included in a support learning environment for organizations? Lombardozzi answered this question with a model she had developed. You can see the model on page 8 of her slide presentation. The foundation of the model is the Inspiration and motivation to learn. How motivated are individuals to learn? This is supported by five areas:

  • Resources: Anything people can pull to learn
  • People: Individuals who can help others learn.
  • Training and Education: Courses
  • Development Practices: Things companies and organizations do to help learning.
  • Learning by Doing: People still learn by doing.

This model can provide ideas to be used in a locally developed curated learning environment. There are lots of possible resources to include in this learning environment.

Lombardozzi also discussed the role of curator. She indicated that the curator should be able to do the following:

  • Seeks out fresh material
  • Filters material for relevant and valuable
  • Categorizes and tags to make it easy to find.
  • Contextualizes and add commentary to enrich the the impact of collection
  • Highlights trends
  • Makes connections between related materials.
  • Generates discussion

She pointed out filtering is tough to accomplish. The curator is always looking for materials that are accurate, credible, current, relevant, easy to use, and diverse. Curators will often use people that they respect and who can help guide them along the way. A curator also trims what is no longer relevant. Resources used such as server space must be justified along the way; therefore, you must continuously trim obsolete material.

Lombardozzi pointed out that she typically curates around a specific skills set or knowledge base. Curators must continuously ensure resources are useful to help people do their job. Learning environments should be stretching people.

Additional resources: