Adaptive libraries for adaptive expertise

Adaptive libraries for adaptive expertiseThe social nature of learning is one of the 7 Principles of Learning Some rights reserved

The OECD’s seminal work The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice  (The Nature of Learningidentifies ‘adaptive expertise’ as the definitive outcome of education in the 21st century. Adaptive expertise is identified as 'the ability to apply meaningfully-learned knowledge and skills flexibly and creatively in different situations.'

In schools, modern library learning environments are an important hub for developing 'adaptive expertise’. 

7 principles of learning 

The Nature of Learning identifies 7 interconnected ‘principles of learning’. These principles reflect the cognitive, emotional and biological aspects of learning and environments conducive to cultivating adaptive expertise in all learners.

  • Learners at the centre — the learning environment recognises the learners as its core participants, encourages their active engagement and develops in them an understanding of their own activity as learners.
  • The social nature of learning — the learning environment is founded on the social nature of learning and actively encourages well organised cooperative learning.
  • Emotions are integral to learning — the learning professionals within the learning environment are highly attuned to the learners’ motivations and the key role of emotions in achievement.
  • Recognising individual differences — the learning environment is acutely sensitive to the individual differences among the learners in it, including their prior knowledge.
  • Stretching all students — the learning environment devises programmes that demand hard work and challenge from all but without excessive overload.
  • Assessment for learning — the learning environment operates with clarity of expectations using assessment strategies consistent with these expectations; there is a strong emphasis on formative feedback to support learning.
  • Building horizontal connections  — the learning environment strongly promotes “horizontal connectedness” across areas of knowledge and subjects as well as to the community and the wider world.

These 7 principles also reflect effective practiceinclusiveness and the learning environment of a modern school library.

Approaches for developing adaptive expertise

Three approaches — 'guided learning', ‘action learning’ and ‘experiential learning’  — are identified as effective pedagogies to develop learners’ adaptive expertise.

  • Guided learning means the teacher sets goals for learning, determines learning strategies, manages formative feedback, and sets outcomes.
  • Action learning sees learners being self-directing in their learning — including setting objectives, planning their learning, and managing themselves through the learning process.
  • Experiential learning is a by-product of a learners’ contexts, activities, and individual motivations. This is recognised as learning occurring beyond formal schooling.

School libraries developing adaptive expertise

School library staff can play an important role in creating a learning environment that supports and encourages the 3 approaches to develop 'adaptive expertise' by:

What other ways can school libraries help develop adaptive expertise?

We look forward to hearing how you have created a library environment that encourages 'adaptive learning'. 

Further information

Schooling Redesigned: Towards Innovative Learning Systems

The Nature of Learning principles revisited

Image: Open class by Opensource on Flickr

By Samuel Beyer

Samuel is the Senior Specialist (Online Learning) for Services to Schools.

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