Andrew Eynon’s Library Blog

A blog about librarianship in Further Education

Archive for the ‘FE Libraries’ Category

Digital Literacy Skills Audit

Posted by andrewey on February 24, 2011

As part of our PEDL project we have developed a skills audit to give a baseline measure of the digital literacy skills of both our peer e-guides and their student cohorts. The e-guides and learners will retake the skills audit at the end of the project to measure the distance travelled.

We wanted a skills audit which was brief , simple to complete but which also indicated future training needs. We found the style of the skills audit used by Salford University ideal. We have now produced our own set of questions, based around the definition of Digital Literacy we are using, covering:

  • Use of College network ICT services
  • Moodle
  • Digital skills for learning – use of common application software
  • Information finding skills
  • Referencing and plagiarism
  • E-safety
  • Web 2.0 technologies

We are currently piloting the audit but aim to make it available online to learners for September.

Posted in FE Libraries, Information Literacy, PEDL | Leave a Comment »

Peer E- guides and Digital Literacy (PEDL)

Posted by andrewey on February 15, 2011

Firstly, apologies for the lack of activity on this blog over the last 12 months or so.

However, I am going to make regular use of the blog to post the findings of a JISC e- learning project I’m currently managing.

The project works on the assumption that learners gain much of their ICT knowledge from their peers rather than from formal training.

Consequently we will train up student peer e-guides to provide informal ICT and information skills support and, most importantly, to use the e-guides as advocates for the support available through the Library & Learning Technology Service.

Posted in FE Libraries, Information Literacy, PEDL | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

FE library update July 2009

Posted by andrewey on August 12, 2009

This blog has been running for over 12 months now and I was going to post my reflections on my first 12 months as a blogger but instead I’ve written up my experience for the next issue of YDdolen – which if accepted for publication will appear in the autumn.

Those working in FE in England have hopefully received their copies of the CoFHE self assessment toolkit for Learning Resource Services. I’m sure the publication of the hardcopy toolkit will encourage more regions to run dissemination events on using the toolkit.

Umbrella 2009 held at Hertfordshire University was a great success and copies of presentations delivered at sessions organised by CoFHE are starting to appear on the website. There was much coverage of the conference on Twitter see the #umbrella09 tag.

Details of the 2010 CoFHE/UC&R Conference, to be held at Exeter University from 21-23 June 2010, should be circulated in the autumn.

There was an interesting piece in the Guardian today about a blog, Awful Library Books, set up by a couple of American librarians to highlight the dated and inappropriate stock still held on public library shelves across America. I wonder how much better libraries in the UK would fare under similar scrutiny?

Posted in FE Libraries | Leave a Comment »

FE library update June 2009

Posted by andrewey on July 9, 2009

The CoFHE self assessment toolkit for learning resource services is now available in hardcopy and all colleges in England should hopefully receive copies shortly via their local JISC RSC.

The recent CoFHE conference at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh was widely covered in the Web 2.0 arena. On Twitter posts can be found using the #cofhe09 tag.

Jo Alcock has written up a number of the conference sessions on her blog.

Presentations from the conference can be found on the CoFHE website.

CoFHE London and South East Circle (LASEC) now has its own blog which also includes some references to the conference.

Posted in CoFHE Conference 2009, FE Libraries | Leave a Comment »

Reader Development in FE

Posted by andrewey on June 16, 2009

The recent fforwm Learning Resource Managers’ network meeting showcased some of the reader development activities undertaken as part of a CyMAL funded scheme last autumn.

Particularly impressive were Swansea College’s book sack project with childcare students, who produced their own book sacks for use in encouraging reading amongst preschool children, and Coleg Glan Hafren’s use of a virtual reading group on Moodle.

More details on all the reader development activities can be found on the JISC RSC-Wales Moodle.

Posted in FE Libraries, Reader Development | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Defining excellence in Learning Resource Service provision

Posted by andrewey on March 20, 2009

JISC RSC London and CoFHE held a very successful event to launch the FE LRS toolkit, produced by CoFHE and CoLRiC, at CILIP on Thursday 12 March.

There were over 50 attendees from FE highlighting the significance of the toolkit to the sector. The RSC London website provides details of the event and links to the presentations.

Collette Xavier, from CoLRiC, spoke about how they are updating their Peer Accreditation Scheme and how it will have greater synergy with the LRS toolkits developed in England, Scotland and Wales.

Feedback from the event was very positive although it highlighted  the need for clarification on some areas of the toolkit – which CoFHE will collate and put on the website with the toolkit.

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FE library update – February 2009

Posted by andrewey on March 3, 2009

The FE learning resources toolkit for English college is now at the printers and will be being distributed by CoFHE/JISC Regional Support Centres. I will be speaking at the toolkit launch at CILIP HQ on Thursday 12 March.

CoFHE will be publishing support material/clarifications relating to the toolkit on the CoFHE website so please post comments here if there is any aspect of the toolkit which is unclear.

One query raised was in relation to the CoLRiC benchmarks which are cited in the toolkit – these refer to the CoLRiC Peer Accreditation scheme. Copies of this documentation is available from CoLRiC, although there is a charge.

The CoFHE Bulletin issues for Autumn/Spring have been delayed owing to a lack of copy so if your are doing something innovative in an FE library service then I’d like to hear from you (to write a short piece for the Bulletin of around 500 words). 

A programme for the 2009 CoFHE conference at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh will be available shortly and plans are underway or the joint CoFHE/UCR conference in 2010 to be held at Exeter University.

There will be a FE/HE strand at Umbrella, 14-15 July, University of Hertfordshire (Hatfield). Umbrella is also an excellent opportunity to see good practice in other library sectors.

There is now a direct mailing service for CoFHE news (as distinct from the CoFHE JISC Mail discussion forum) – so if you’d like to be kept up to date with what’s happening in FE libraries then please update your contact details via the CILIP website.

The CoFHE JISC mail forum is an excellent way of asking fellow FE professionals for advice and information (click here for more information).

Posted in FE Libraries, Monthly news updates | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Using social software to support learning in FE and HE

Posted by andrewey on February 27, 2009

Jisc have published some very useful case studies  , and a report, on the use of web 2.0 tools to support teaching and learning in FE and HE. Of the 26 case studies only three are from FE, including the CyMAL Inspiring Learning project that I’m engaged in at Coleg Llandrillo (which is also the only case study included from Wales).

The aspects of the Coleg Llandrillo project which have been highlighted are the use of the Liberaceblog to promote the library service, the use of this blog to promote our research findings, the use of wikis to share and collaboratively produce information and the use of social bookmarking to create virtual reading lists.

The other two FE college projects featured are Stockport College (with the use of Flickr for photosharing by students on a City & Guilds photography course) and Northumberland College (which features the use of wikis in portfolio building).

Posted in FE Libraries, Inspiring Learning | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Carrying out the library educator role

Posted by andrewey on February 5, 2009

Unit 7 of the Applications of ICT in Libraries qualification is ‘Carrying out the Net Educator role’. This unit is where library staff examine ‘teaching’ in the context of libraries.

The ‘net educator’ was a particular facet of the Peoples Network training in public libraries but given that many students on the ICTL course are from non-public library backgrounds I have generalised the title here to ‘library educator’.

The importance of this unit lies in the expansion in information skills/literacy delivery by all library sectors and the corresponding need for library staff to acquire ‘teaching skills’. 

The first element of the unit looks at identifying ‘training needs’. In fact the same principles can be applied to identifying any learner’s needs.  The tools that can be used to identify the learners needs include:

  • Direct observation – leave the learners to get on with the task and see how they fare without (much) prior instruction
  • Tests/questionnaires – can also be used to see how much learning has taken place if this is a follow up session
  • Consultation with tutors – ask the tutors about what skills/information the learners need most
  • Interview – ask the learners beforehand what they want from the session
  • Student work – see how the students are already applying information skills in their work
  • Appraisal records – for staff training, check if information skills are being  identified as a training need

The second element of the unit looks at learning styles, delivery methods and motivation of the learner. As regards learning styles many in FE will be familiar with the works of Honey & Mumford on this subject, who identified the following types of learners – activisits (those who learn by doing), reflectors (those who learn by reviewing what they have been taught), theorists (those who learn by knowing why something is done) and pragmatists (where learning varies according to what is being taught). For an interesting discussion of learning styles and strategies see Felder and Soloman. There is also a free online learning styles profiler.

It is best to use a variety of delivery methods when running information skills to cater for different learning styles (see my post on Sharon Markless’ recent “Developinging information literacy strategies” event for more ideas):

  • Demonstration – Sharon Markless suggests using demonstration to reinforce learning ie after a practical exercise rather than as an introduction
  • Group problem solving – facilitating discussion helps reflection and learning
  • ‘Chalk and talk’ – useful for imparting knowledge but not very proactive
  • Role playing – this is often the bete noire of library training but has it uses for staff training particularly using Library Management Systems, dealing with challenging behaviour, customer care etc
  • Practical activities – hands-on sessions enable learners to practice what has been demonstrated or taught 
  • Individual learning – particularly through the use of online content such as podcasts, video tutorials or other training material

It is also worth considering models of learning. The behaviourist model is best typified by Bloom’s taxonomy– which you will notice has similarities to the SCONUL seven pillars model of information literacy. A constructivist model is seen as more effective and enables more autonomy of learning ie learners don’t have to follow a sequential learning path. The constructivist model is best typified by Kolb’s learning cycle.

The unit also stresses the importance of keeping the learners motivated – issues to consider include:

  • Make sure what you are delivering is not at too high or low a level
  • Have the learners been compelled to attend?
  • How relevant is the session to each individual learner?
  • Does the session have clear learning objectives and have these been communicated to the learner?
  • How suitable is the learning environment (too noisy, dark, not enough computers etc)?

The unit also covers creating learning materials and support for learners. The final element of the unit looks at evaluating sessions and assessing the learner’s progress.

When evaluating sessions you need to consider quantitative and qualitative measurements:

  • Observation
  • Tests
  • Feedback forms
  • Learner competence
  • Learner confidence
  • Level of integration with the curriculum
  • Focus groups – of staff and students asking qualitative questions
  • Impact on student work

A very useful guide to delivering information literacy sessions (including many practical tips) is Cardiff University’s teaching Information literacy handbook.

Please leave a comment if you have any examples of  particularly effective ways of delivering information skills/literacy.

Posted in FE Libraries, ICTL | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Delivering information literacy in FE

Posted by andrewey on January 29, 2009

Sharon Markless, Kings College London, delivered a thought provoking session on developing a strategic approach to delivering information literacy at a North Wales Libraries Training Group event (at Coleg Llandrillo on 28 January).

Sharon started her session by defining what we mean by Information Literacy (IL) and discussing ways of selling this concept to senior managers or academics. This included what we in FE would normally describe as information literacy ie finding, evaluating and comparing information sources. Sharon also defined IL as critical thinking and metacognition (enabling independent study).

Sharon hghlighted some important common failings of IL delivery in FE and HE:

  • Emphasis on searching (rather than evaluation)
  • About promoting library resources rather than meeting the user’s needs
  • About  ‘how to do’ rather than engaging in critical thinking

Sharon dispelled some common notions of IL delivery such as the idea of generic or transferable IL skills. Sharon highlighted research which has shown that IL mush be contextualised in order for students to learn the skills and to see their relevance/application. In order to achieve this it was  argued that IL resources and sessions should not be sequential but rather should allow users to select elements that were relevant to them.

In terms of practical delivery it was suggested that demonstrations (of software) should be given after the student has had hands-on experience or undertaken an activity, as that is a better method of reinforcing learning, rather than at the start of the session. In order to produce ‘constructive learning’ IL sessions the following techniques were suggested:

  • Encourage discussion to share ideas
  • Set ‘real world’ tasks
  • Provide support material in a variety of formats (including videos and podcasts)
  • Enable ‘focused feedback’ 
  • Encourage reflective practice

Sharon also made some suggestions as to how Web 2.0 tools can be used in delivering IL:

  • Wiki subject guides
  • Student created podcasts to guide others
  • Genre based social networks
  • Tagging to personalise searching
  • Virtual Tutorials (using Second Life)
  • Use of video/photo sharing

Finally the importance of collecting evidence to demonstrate the success of IL delivery was discussed. These were divided into quantitative outputs and qualitative impacts. Both of which avoided the ‘busyness’ (ie usage) type statistics usually favoured by libraries:

  • Evidence from student work/assignments
  • Focus groups with tutors and students identifying qualitative benefits (we have used the MLA’s ILFA framework to good effect in this context)
  • Activities/tests undertaken as a result of the IL sessions to gauge competency
  • Evidence of engagement with the curriculum eg take-up
  • Change in nature of student enquiries

Posted in FE Libraries, Information Literacy | Tagged: | 1 Comment »