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Glo-learners

I thought I’d escaped from the quicksands of of learning-speak when I completed the chapter on learning (which nearly did me in) for my book. But no! A new tsunami of learning lingo is upon us. Teachers having been exhausted by years of enforced modernisation, the hapless victims this time round are Britiain’s museums and libraries. Inspiring Learning for All (ILFA) promises to “transform the way in which museums, archives and libraries deliver and engage users in learning”. Government officials were unhappy, it seems, at ”a lack of knowledge about the significance of focussing on learning and the consequential need for organisational change in museums and libraries”. When broaching this failure with museum and library professionals, they were further perplexed by the “lack of a common vocabulary: For example libraries use the word “stock”, museums “collections”, and archives talk about “holdings””. These heinous crimes against language galvanised the government into five years of think-tankery. The result is a ‘Measure Learning Toolkit’ that will force (sorry, enable) museums, archives, and libraries to “gather evidence of their impact on broader learning agendas”. Library staff are further commanded to “understand their role in the creativity agenda (and) have confidence that they are part of the creative world”. For recalcitrant librarians who insist that they’ve been doing this all along, a mind-control – sorry, measuring – system called “Generic Learning Outcomes” – or GLOs – has been invented; this will “transform the way that we to talk to users and visitors about learning”. Among a number of accompanying design proposals is the requirement that “the furnishing and layout of libraries should take account of the creative process, providing stimulus, surprise, random connections and different means of recording ideas”. It strikes me that that Glo-world uses vast numbers of words to state the obvious – and/or to describe, as an objective, something that already exists. My own take on it: a) Give me a dusty old library any day rather than one suffused with a profane Glo; b) go and hug a tree rather than worry about Glos; and c) Where there’s a will there surely follows a way.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 1, 2006 at 05:51 | Permalink

    John, You may find the work on folksonomies and museums more to your liking…David Weinberger has a post on faceted classification and libraries, and you can visit my blog for an overview of project “Steve” for museums…Cheers, Larry
    http://www.skilfulminds.com/22

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