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Teaching Patrons to Use Technology: Creating a Plan for Better Instruction
An Infopeople Online Learning Course
|Fee per learner||$200.00|
Instructor: Crystal Schimpf
Do you plan, manage, or coordinate technology related programs and services at your library? Is your library looking to improve the way it provides technology instruction services to patrons? Does your library assist patrons in using a makerspace, technology lab, or media lab?
If your library helps patrons to learn to use technology, this course can help you increase your skills as a training coordinator and improve your library’s services through better planning. 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.
Note from the instructor: The curriculum for this course was developed prior to the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Many of the topics discussed in the course apply broadly to technology instruction planning, while a few may speak to in-person instruction that will not be possible for some time into the future. Rather than remove those portions, they are being left in to reflect the broad range of technology instruction that is possible. New sections will be included in each week of the course to provide opportunities to reflect on ways to adapt technology instruction for library patrons during COVID-19 response, with considerations for social distancing and virtual programming. Course participants will also be encouraged to think about these considerations in discussion forums throughout the course.
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 support patrons in learning new technologies. 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 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). This course is targeted towards library staff who are responsible for planning, coordinating, and evaluating patron technology instructional services, but it may also be of interest to staff who provide instructional services directly to patrons.
Course Outline: 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 or discussions. 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: This course is targeted towards library staff who plan and coordinate public programs or services the involve the use of technology. This course may also be beneficial to library staff who directly help patrons with the use of technology. This course may be useful 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.
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.