Real World Skills in Online Environments

Many librarians are probably familiar with designing programs that build developmental assets. We help build youth assets like leadership, helping others, and succeeding in school so that there is less of a chance that teens will make destructive choices such as vandalism and drugs.

You may even have heard of asset building in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMORPGs) and Multi User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) such as World of Warcraft, Entropia Universe, Teen Second Life and more. This article in the May Harvard Business Review, Leadership’s Online Labs, talks about how real world transference can occur as a result of game play – from being leaders in online games to being leaders in the work world.

Leadership in online games doesn’t always have to take the form of quests and raids, teens are likely to be leading meetings in the environment, collaborating with a diverse group of people, and motivating others to complete a task.

A question might be, how do we as librarians support developmental assets, such as leadership, through MMORPG’s or MUVE’s? The answer might be:

  • Form a guild and ask teens to sign up
  • Be a strategy guide (this is great advice from library consultant Beth Gallaway in how to interact with teens not as experts but as guides)
  • Hold your own meetings in an online environment to become familiar with how it works
  • Ask teens what they are doing or to show you what they are doing in these environments
  • Share your stories here!

Published by

Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

One thought on “Real World Skills in Online Environments”

  1. I heard John Beck talk about the need for strategy guides, not level bosses, back in 2006. Basically, the idea is, gamers distrust “level bosses” who have more power, authority& resources than they do. Instead, they want helpful guides, who provide tidbits of info, just in time, for immediate application.

    So, instead of doing a 30-minute lecture about database navigation, stop. talking. Break your bibliographic instruction group into a couple of groups and give them the same assignments. Tell one to use directory, one to use a database, one one to use a database, and one to use an e-book. Let them go for 10 minutes, then a host a discussion of what worked and what didn’t, asking for demonstrations of expertise. As the strategy you can offer tips, like “put it in QUOTES!” or, “click the tab for e-Reference books” or “start with Advanced seach in Google.”

    Networking with other librarians in virtual spaces might be another place to start – Second Life really intimidated me until I found a reason to be there (other librarians to talk to and library related projects to help with).

    Ning hosts a couple of places that can be resources:
    Youth 2.0 http://libraryyouth.ning.com/
    LIbrary 2.0 http://library20.ning.com/
    Gaming Learning & Libraries http://gaminglearningandlibraries.ning.com/

    If anyone is interested in World of Warcraft, our server, Kirin Tor, has a new librarians guild, called “The Librarian.”

Comments are closed.