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Unit Eight

Strengthening Your Library’s ISL Programs

In this unit, we will begin planning the next two Pushing the Limits programs that your library will offer. With the first four programs you offered, the program videos, book titles, and discussion questions were provided. For the next two programs, you’ll be making decisions about some of the program components based on the knowledge and experience you’ve gained over the last several months.

During this unit, you will participate in activities to:

  • Understand the basic principles of adult learning and how to apply those principles
  • Explore the basic principles of free-choice learning
  • Apply your programming knowledge and experience to plan ISL programs

In previous units we have discussed some of the basic aspects of Informal STEM Learning (ISL).
The first video in this unit will dig deeper into some differences between how children and adults approach and experience learning.

Unit Eight, Video One
Adult Informal Science Learning (ISL)


  • There are fundamental differences between adults and children as learners. As you watch the next video, see if you can identify the four characteristics that were outlined on the chart: self-directed learner, rich base of experience, learning emerging from life situations, and a strong “need to know” motivation.


Unit Eight, Video Two
Why We Learn What We Learn


Informal learning (also called free choice learning) aligns with the principles of adult learning. In the next video John Falk talks about the different starting points that we may see when adults participate in STEM learning programs.

Unit Eight, Video Three
Adult Learning Motivations
Understanding the needs and motivations of adult learners will go a long way towards helping you design programming specific to your community’s needs and interests. In the next video, we’ll examine the role of libraries as lifelong centers of informal learning in general, and STEM learning in particular.


Unit Eight, Video Four
Libraries as Lifelong Learning Centers


Planning the Pushing the Limits Programs
Now we’re going to begin to apply what you’ve learned about core STEM concepts and adult learning principles to plan your next two programs.

For these programs, we’re providing the program videos and we’ve prepared a list of suggested discussion questions, and a list recommended books to accompany each program. However, you’ll be selecting the book for each of the two programs.

  • Download Program Planning: Tradition and Transformation, and use it as you plan both programs. When you complete part 1, Join the Community of Practice discussion thread “Unit 8: Program Planning for Tradition” to share your ideas and program planning suggestions. After you have an opportunity to discuss your programming decisions in the Community of Practice, you’ll complete Part 2, which is designed to help you plan the second of the two upcoming programs.arrow icons
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