Skill Building 101

…or reflections on readings for class #2…

These readings showed us a best-practices approach to setting up a workshop in your library and then went to concrete examples of libraries attempting workshops and learning modules for student learning.  The ADDIE idea of workshop implementation seems to be a way that all libraries could approach a workshop – academic, public, special or otherwise.  It does feel time-intensive to go through all of the steps and although some may be combined or eliminated, but how does the librarian approach and examine how to best choose which parts to use when creating a new workshop?  I would argue that they are all necessary and should not be overlooked – however it requires time and planning on the part of the library.

I also was curious of the notion of practicing and having user-studies done before offering the course as well as gaining feedback from courses as they go on.  I am not sure many libraries can afford to run user-tests on their workshops before offering them, but am not sure if they can afford not to either.  I have yet to teach a workshop or class but would be curious how many librarians request feedback at the end of a class?  Reflection is often a part of teaching however getting feedback from the students to aide your reflection is essential, in my opinion.

It is interesting that the best ways to reach students seem to include both face-to-face interactions and online/remote learning modules.  This may be something libraries could feasibly consider as an approach to providing instruction/classes to their patrons especially with the free software available, mentioned in the Griffis article.  I have never participated in a class at a library, but it seems that the classes are generally the same every few months – an intro and an advanced level to learn more about whatever subject.

I wonder if a library could pull together its resources to offer more in-depth online modules that the user could go through after attending the intro class.  The intro class would serve to ensure basic skills needed for the module are understood and then the remote online learning tools could be done at the pace of the patron.  These tools could include assessments and feedback sections but more importantly, I feel it would allow the user to practice and grow with their new found skills at their own pace.  The library could then offer once a month time block (or some other combination of in-library time) where users can come in with their questions about the modules to continue enhancing their skills with a librarian.

Especially with technology, I know that I need someone to help me through it the first time but if I don’t continue to use the program or learn more, I lose everything and have to go back to the very beginning.  Perhaps providing both on-site and on-line classes through the library, its users may no longer get stuck in the same cycle of knowing too much for the intro course but too little for the advanced courses.

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2 responses to “Skill Building 101

  1. I really like your idea of having an in-person intro class and then moving the workshop online after that point. I feel that having an instructor there with you to help when you’re getting down the basics would be really helpful, and after that point patrons could move ahead at their own pace online. I’m always a little wary of having entire classes online with no in-person support, but I also like the self-directed nature of online instruction. Your idea seems to be a really good compromise of the two approaches. -Leigh

  2. I agree about the large time commitment for ADDIE workshop planning! It all sounds great, but if a busy librarian and over-worked teachers can’t find the time to do it, how effective can this method be? If it looks good on paper, but no one implements it, the idea can’t be considered a great one.

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