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Teaching Patrons to Use Technology
An Infopeople Online Learning Course
Instructor: Crystal Schimpf
Do you provide technology assistance to library patrons? Are you responsible for coordinating technology related programs and services at your library? Do you help patrons in your library’s makerspace, technology lab, or media lab? If you regularly help patrons to use technology, this course can help increase your skills and improve your library’s services.
Library services are undeniably intertwined with technology. From helping patrons search the library catalog to providing maker equipment such as 3D printers, library staff regularly help patrons use technology. Each individual interaction is an opportunity to teach, and formal programs provide a special opportunity to provide focused instruction. There are many models for teaching library patrons to use a wide range of technologies that go beyond basic digital literacy instruction.
In this course, participants will:
- Explore ways that libraries can provide technology instruction for patrons of all ages using both traditional and non-traditional models in one-on-one, group, and online environments.
- Learn planning, promotional, and evaluation processes to improve existing services and programs and better meet patron needs.
- Look at ways to support staff learning to increase technology skills and training techniques to increase the quality of patron instruction across all programs and services.
After completion of this course, participants will have a better understanding of how the library can help patrons learn to use technology. They will be able to apply new skills in program planning and technology training
Course Description: This four-week course will provide weekly readings, practical assignments, and supplementary resources. The instructor will share best practices, examples, and useful tips and techniques that can be applied immediately in your own library and community. During the course, you will participate in discussion forums and an online meeting where you can share your ideas and experiences and learn from other course participants. This course is open to library staff from all types of libraries (public, academic, school, and special).
Pre-course work: Prior to the start of this course, please complete a brief worksheet (DOCX or PDF format) about your library’s technology instruction services. This will help prepare you for the discussion in the first week of the course. You will be asked to submit the completed worksheet as part of your introduction in week 1 of the course.
Course Outline: When you log in to the Infopeople online learning site, you will see weekly modules with these topics:
When you log in to the Infopeople online learning site, you will see weekly modules with these topics:
- Week 1: Exploring Models for Teaching Technology
- Formal vs. informal learning.
- Exploring different models of technology training delivery, including one-on-one, group, online, and passive environments.
- Benefits and challenges of different models of instruction.
- Week 2: Planning for Better Technology Instruction
- Assessing and identifying patron needs for learning to use technology
- Creating goals for patron technology programs.
- Planning to improve existing programs/services or to implementing new programs/services.
- Promoting technology related programs to increase attendance.
- Week 3: Building Staff Competencies for Technology Instruction
- Common staff competencies for technology instruction
- Supporting staff learning of technology and training skills.
- Resources for ongoing technology learning.
- Best practices for providing technology instruction.
- Week 4: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Patron Technology Instruction
- Purpose of evaluating technology instruction in a public setting.
- Identifying outcomes, measures and methods for technology instruction.
- Drafting new evaluation tools and utilizing existing evaluation tools.
- Using evaluation measures to improve programs and services.
Time Required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2 1/2 hours per week, for a total of ten course hours. Each week's module contains readings and various options for assignments, discussions, or online meetings. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: Any library staff who directly help patrons with the use of technology. Any library staff who plan and coordinate public programs or services the involve the use of technology. This course may be beneficial for libraries who are participating in the Urban Libraries Council's Edge Initiative.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at: infopeople.org/training/online_learning_details.
Learner Requirements: None.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.
Keywords: adult services, technology, training skills