Bendable (Library Lifelong Learning Platform)

Overview

Bendable is a community-powered learning marketplace. It operates a lifelong learning platform that was established initially in 2020 to allow residents of all ages and backgrounds in South Bend, Indiana, to acquire new knowledge and skills through online courses as well as local, in-person opportunities. Much of the content on Bendable is geared for working adults but it is designed as a lifelong learning system; i.e., there is content for anyone - elementary school through retirement age.

Bendable delivers online and in-person learning to library patrons via a browser-based app. Bendable is a digital end cap for learning—a way to make content discovery relevant and timely. Course content covers a wide range such as a yoga class at the local YMCA or an online course on coding from a leading national provider.

Since launch in Indiana, Bendable has expanded to sites in Maine and California.

Because Bendable is being offered through local public libraries, the majority of learning resources featured on the system are free to local residents. When there is a cost, it indicated on the platform.

There are two types of collections:

  • Career Collections are sets of learning resources aimed at preparing learners for some of the most in-demand jobs. Learners will receive credit in the form of digital badges for the work put into completing the courses in Career Collections. Each Career Collection is put together in partnership with a major local employer or industry group, giving those who’ve earned Career Collection badges an extra edge as they look to get hired or promoted.
  • Community Collections are playlists of learning resources (classes, TED Talks, podcasts, books, etc.) organized around a particular subject—and curated by local residents.

Bendable was developed by the Drucker Institute, a nonprofit social enterprise based at Claremont Graduate University in California. The Institute launched Bendable in June 2020 in South Bend, Indiana, in partnership with the St. Joseph County Public Library and with philanthropic funding from Google’s and Walmart’s corporate foundations. The system was designed by IDEO. In late 2022, the Institute team that created Bendable was given the opportunity to spin it out on their own and operate it independently. Their company, Bendable Labs, now runs the platform.

Bendable is compliant with the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) and the European Union’s GDPR. The full policy is here.

Partners

Drucker Institute, City of South Bend, IDEO, Carbon Five, Credly, FSG, Google.org., Walmart, Lumina Foundation

Resources

https://southbend.bendable.com/

https://southbend.bendable.com/more

 

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