World is changing fast and hence we need to rethink about the systems that were created in old world and change them into something which remain relevant to future.
With changing dynamics of Industry, learning and working used to be a segmented part of our life where we used to learn in initial years and used to work in later years. But with changing time, learning & working is part of everyone life on daily or weekly basis.
Hence we need “physical spaces” i.e. Centers of Excellence which supports this new requirement of changing world.
Center supporting different types of Learning
Learning has various aspects covering self-study, peer learning, and learning from mentors. Hence these learning center offers space for every aspect of learning i.e.
- Self Study Area: This is a conducive environment where silence is maintained providing a table, chairs, power sockets, and internet connectivity. The learner can use their books/laptop to study
- Peer Discussion Area: This offer sitting capability accompanied by a cafe facility. This can be thought of as a meeting/conference room in a coworking space
- Mentor Access: This space may offer some spaces for learning looking to talk to mentors or attend some classes and workshops
How these Centers are different from existing Libraries and Reading rooms
In the existing spaces, people tend to name them as Library but Library and Learning spaces are fundamentally different.
Libraries are primarily perceived as reference book lending/reading facilities. People think that their primary objective is book reference. And the secondary purpose is providing a reading space to study those books and references. In these libraries (private, government-run, inside educational institutions), learners are not allowed to take their books inside. Hence, in this case, the fundamental purpose of “Self Study Area” is defeated. In today’s environment, most people prefer to buy their own books, read them as ebooks or attend online courses. Hence people are finding it difficult to relate the importance of “Co-Learning” within libraries
There are few learning spaces also known as reading rooms/libraries running in areas where a lot of students are living and preparing for competitive examinations. These spaces name itself as libraries and provide only “Self Study Area” facilities. They provide a table, chair, air-conditioned environment, wifi, tea/coffee, some additional space to have lunch etc. But in general, very few people are aware of these libraries and the majority of the people relate the library with book lending facilities.
Existing Libraries are Reading rooms are mostly out of reach for school students as self-studying area.
Either these spaces are at distant places and hence for a school student it’s not viable to travel that long and use these spaces
Some of these are only allowing members who are more than 18-year-old, which itself takes away the option from school students
Why even a separate Room in Home is not good enough
Sometimes people think that having a separate room is good enough. As it saves travel time, membership cost, the distraction of meeting new people, safety etc.
Consider this analogy, even though most people can exercise at home, still they join Gym as it helps them get into space where other people are also inspired to achieve the same. Hence motivation is required to enter into space but once we are there, we exercise. But when we are at home, we tend to skip some days or skip some routines, etc.
Same way, the self-study area provides an inspiring environment where once you have started using it, you will feel more energetic and enthusiastic to continue studying there.
Why Learning Center to support Future of Work
The importance of Life Long Learning is clearly visible in the age of fast-changing technology and skills. Hence even professional needs to constantly upgrade themselves to keep up with the changing world. These learning centers are useful for these people.
With content delivery moving to digital devices, still, a need for learning space exist. A lot many MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) could not sustain as they provided the content but could not create model to create an inspired environment.
With new types of “Education” models like homeschooling being practiced by many, these spaces would be helpful for them too.
As part of our mission, we have been doing further research to create self-sustainable learning centers, so that it can spread at a faster pace without depending upon the funding.
Do share your thoughts and advice.