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SWON News: The Low Down

Experience + Learning

Wednesday, June 03, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
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Hands-on learning, these days often called experiential learning, is a big deal at SWON. We have a whole series of workshops, our Level-Up Labs, that put it at the center. For some topics, hands-on learning is an easy fit. Take HTML. When you're writing the code, you see the practical results of your work. If you forget to put in a slash, you can see your entire page can become one long link. You need to practice it.

As practical as this kind of experiential learning is, it can also be attractive because it's pretty private. You're the only one looking at your screen. If you goof, you're the only one to see it unless you call the instructor over. That can make your learning experience less risky, but isolated learning has its drawbacks. You might miss the chance to ask a question or hear a suggestion.

The stakes can feel higher when the topic requires your learning experience to be public. That might include role-plays—"You be the hotel manager"—but also group activities where your learning process is visible to those around you. Those higher stakes present opportunities. When you volunteer, it can be your marketing puzzle the group tries to solve or your customer service issue the group helps navigate.

Libraries provide instruction all the time. When you're the one teaching, make it your mission to include an experiential learning component. It's also your job to make your learning environment constructive and protected so that people feel free to participate, even when they're on the spot.

  • Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator

Supervisor Training goes on the road

SWON is planning a series of Supervisor Training Labs for the fall that will be held at several sites around our region. You can expect to find experiential learning components in each of these. If you're interested in hosting supervisor training at your library, contact Melanie at

In the meantime, SWON's previous Level-Up Labs are ready to travel! If you'd like a two-hour, hands-on workshop on Personality Theory for Supervisors/Managers or Dealing with Conflict, we're ready to schedule them with you. Our Level-Up Lab page also lists technology-related Labs. Ready to learn more? We're ready to bring a learning experience to you!

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