Think about Metaphors from Putting Learning into Library Planning - Scott Bennett

Think About Metaphors

We saw earlier both the common-sense ease and the danger of thinking with metaphors. The alternative is to think about our metaphors.

Think About the Learning You Are Planning For

Exactly what do you mean by the term learning? How does your definition of the thing you are planning for align with the literature of learning theory? How does it align with efforts to identify and assess the impact of good practices in teaching and learning? Keep testing the power of your definition to drive effective planning, and when you see your work settling around common-sense truisms—such as students want space for collaboration and for working alone, or if you build it they will come—go back to your definition to see if it cannot be enriched so as to drive more thoughtful planning.

Think About the Issue of Ownership

Who owns library space, and on with terms is that ownership asserted? How are ownership claims made manifest in your planning and design decisions? How will you keep issues of ownership and of presence separate? Again, be wary of common sense truisms—such as we need a service desk or that learning is advanced by one-stop shopping. Be vigilant about how such truisms can lead you to asserting ownership claims when the real problem is that of having a presence in learning space.

Think About Your Metaphors

Ensure that you are thinking about, and not just with, your metaphors by building an assessment protocol into your planning from the outset. Embrace the discipline of demonstrating in some way that your plans are a credible means for enhancing learning outcomes.  Recognize that an inability to assess your plans in this way may signal that planning has strayed from its mission-driven priorities.


see more: LSC Postings re: Planning (August 2015)