Bilandzic, M. (2013). Connected learning in the library as a product of hacking, making, social diversity and messiness. Interactive Learning Environments, 24(1), 158–177.
Bilandzic describes a study that “explored implications for design of interactive learning enviornments through 18 months of ethnographic observations of people’s interactions at “Hack the Evening” (HTE)… a meetup group initiated at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia… dedicated to provide visitors with opportunities for connected learning in relation to hacking, making and do-it-yourself technology” (p. 1 in author’s copy; consult published version for final page number). The study aimed to address “how free-choice learning environments can provided connected learning opportunities, in particular through an interactive, participatory and inspiring socio-cultural context for learning?” (p. 3 in author’s copy; consult published version for final page number) and the following three related questions:
- What factors facilitate the connected learning experience of members within the group?
- How does the public library as a location for the meetup group affect the participants’ learnign experience?
- What are challenges and barriers for connected learning as experienced by the group, and how can libraries address those? (p. 3 in author’s copy; consult published version for final page number)
Bilandzic draws a distinction between events like Hack the Evening and traditional “free-choice learning environments” such as libraries and museums “where learning is primarily supported through the physical environment” (p. 24 in author’s copy; consult published version for final page number). HTE focuses on designing a socio-cultural context where people can learn not only in a self-directed manner, but also socially and collaboratively. [Bilandzic’s emphasis on socio-cultural context is consonant with Lloyd’s and others' work on sociocultural models of information literacy.]
Bilandzic offers four suggestions for interventions to help overcome barriers for connected learning:
- Increasing the awareness of social learning opportunities within a learning environment
- Facilitating an open, collaborative and interactive culture among users in learning environments
- Providing access to contempoerary learning tools and materials for “learning-by-doing” activities
- Supporting informal socialisation and hangouts between participants inside as well as outside the learning space premises and opening hours (p. 25 in author’s copy; consult published version for final page number).