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Tuesday, 12th August 2014

At a Tipping Point: Education, Learning and Libraries

Source: OCLC Research

This impending education tipping point is not the result of any single event or set of new services. It is not the result of the recent appearance of one online education model, MOOCs. It is not the result of an outcry of parents, looking for alternatives to what many are calling “unfundable college educations.” Nor is it because of the rise of easy-to-use self-help videos and tutorials. Education will tip into a new future because of the cumulative weight of all of these factors—new consumer practice, evolving technological capabilities and increasing economic incentives....

So, what is it that we are tipping toward? We are tipping from the age of students as directed learners to an era of students as empowered education consumers and eager education evaluators. We are tipping toward an educational era of choice over tradition, convenience over perfection, self-service over predefined options. Ratings, recommendations, just-in-time delivery—every facet of digital life—will come to bear on education. We will change how we learn, where we learn and who guides our path. Just as we have trip advisors, we will have online education advisors, e-books and e-courses, self-service and self- paced, on-campus and on-demand. We will have options.

And we will need libraries—prepared to support the needs and aspirations of online learners.

The same digital forces reshaping education will reshape libraries, on our campuses and across our communities. But even if libraries are ready, will education consumers seek out libraries? Will libraries miss the cues? The brand perception of libraries remains firmly planted in tradition. Libraries = books.

This latest OCLC research study aims to provide librarians with important information about the trends and triggers that are driving to this tipping point.

+ Direct link to Study (PDF; 7.5 MB)


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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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