Learning to Learn: From Information to Knowledge Creation

Vision

The real mandate of the Learning Commons is to design, facilitate and support dynamic learning experiences that utilize the best available resources, technologies, strategies and learning environments.

Learners move beyond merely retrieving factual information to constructing personal meaning and building individual and collective knowledge. As learners read, research, experiment, discover, perform and create in the Learning Commons, they collaborate with others to test, confirm and enrich their learning.


Guiding learners along their information to knowledge journey, and providing needed instructional interventions, is the focus of all partners in both physical and virtual learning spaces.


As we increasingly move toward an environment of instant and infinite information, it becomes less important for students to know, memorize or recall information, and more important for them to be able to find, sort, analyze, share, discuss, critique and create information. They need to move from being simply knowledgeable to being knowledge-able.

– Wesch, 2008

Exploiting resources for information and mastering technological applications to gain information is just the beginning of this journey. When teaching partners design higher order thinking learning experiences that take advantage of the social dimensions of learning, the potential for deeper understanding and the building of collective knowledge is enhanced. When learners take responsibility for learning — when they begin building their own personal learning networks — learning for life is on the horizon.


Throughout all activities in the Learning Commons, both students and teachers strive to improve. Metacognition of content understood as well as skills and processes gained helps to build learning to learn skills and attitudes and responsibilities.

The rich variety of resources and technologies as well as flexible physical and virtual spaces in the Learning Commons enhances differentiated instructional opportunities in the information to knowledge creation process.

The school library program has a central role to play in nurturing the Learning Commons’ culture of imagination, discovery and creativity.



 Implementation in the School Library

Reading Engagement

Multiple Literacies 
Discovery and Guided Inquiry

Critical and Creative Thinking


Learning to Learn

The “work” of the Learning Commons is to facilitate and lead a new culture of learning, one that addresses the needs of 21st Century students.

Learning to learn is a critical component of student success. The Learning Commons’ information-rich and media-savvy environments facilitate learning to learn. The Learning Commons’ networked learning experiences and directed metacognition of what is being learned — and how it is being learned — facilitate learning to learn as well.

To improve their learning, students need feedback and formative assessment throughout a unit or project. They also need opportunity and time to reflect and discuss their findings with others. The instructional staff, in partnership can help design face-to-face and virtual opportunities that can include:

  • Ongoing conferencing with peers and teachers
  • Implementing reflective journaling during the learning process
  • Utilizing self-assessment organizers throughout the learning process
  • Building collaborative rubrics within learning partnerships
  • Setting goals for improvements and next steps
  • Relating new information and understandings to prior experiences
  • Assembling a portfolio

Ideas to Consider


 Content    Process
Students work in small groups to compare their research findings on a topic and chart similarities, differences, and discrepancies. They then discuss why they had differing results.

   After reflecting on successes and problems during an information search, students create a tutorial of effective search strategies to help others.
Students create a web of their knowledge after a unit of study. In groups students consolidate their knowledge into big ideas about the unit.

  Students discuss the strategies and processes they applied during a project then develop questions for self assessment of their own learning skills and set goals for next steps.
In groups, students reflect on what was personally surprising and significant from the research recently completed. In small partnerships they find a way to share these discoveries.
 
  Using organizing tools that allow an objective view, students analyze the collaborative skills that were used in the learning partnership. Collaboratively, they set goals for the next project that address improvements in the team building skill needs of the group. 

 
"Learning is the work.......whatever is taught must be steeped in learning through reflective action."


– Fullan, 2008