What is a Learning Commons?

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Plato’s Academy, Rafael’s fresco

A Learning Commons (sometimes called an Information Commons or Digital Commons) is an educational space that incorporates multiple information technologies, online or distance learning, tutoring, collaboration, content creation, collections and resources, meetings, and reading or study. Academic libraries began developing learning commons, and the learning commons concept, in the early 1990s. Since then, many university libraries have transformed themselves by including technology-rich classrooms, creating vibrant and flexible collaborative spaces, and offering additional tools and services to meet the wide variety of patron educational needs.

As the intellectual and educational center of our community, the Dana Medical Library supports the education, research, and clinical practice of University of Vermont students, faculty and staff. In order better to meet the needs of our patrons, the Dana Library is adopting a Learning Commons model of library service. The Learning Commons will offer a media-rich, content rich, and learner-driven environment, with assistance from professionals at various points along the educational continuum. We look forward to engaging our patrons in this exciting transformation over the next several months.

For more information about a learning commons, read 7 Things You Should Know Aboutā„¢ the Modern Learning Commons by Educause Learning Initiative.

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