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Understanding and Applying Adult Learning Theory to Improve Library Services
An Infopeople Online Learning Course
Instructor: Lauren Hays
Whether it's helping people find information, showing them how to use a new technology tool, or connecting them to resources, providing instruction is an essential aspect of modern library services to adults. Even though most librarians and library staff don't consider themselves teachers, their day to day responsibilities often put them in the role of trainer, teacher, coach and/or facilitator.
This course will introduce practical ideas for applying adult learning principles in order to improve one-on-one assistance, instruction and library programming. It will include an overview of andragogy—a theory of adult learning. Knowing how people learn can increase the chance that the information will "stick." Learners will leave this course able to apply adult learning theories to workplace scenarios, analyze patron interactions to determine when the principles will be beneficial to use, and develop goals for helping adults learn in the library.
Course Description: This four-week online course will provide weekly readings, practical assignments, and discussion forums for sharing ideas and experiences. The instructor will provide essential resources, best practices, and useful tips and techniques that can be applied immediately in your library.
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: Principles of Andragogy: Part 1
- A learner's need to know--make the patrons a partner in the learning
- The self-concept of the learner--be a consultant
- The prior experience of the learner--make time for discussion and
- Week 2: Principles of Andragogy: Part 2
- A readiness to learn--adults ask question when they need to know and when seeking support
- An orientation to learning--provide real-life and applicable information
- A motivation to learn--adults learn because of intrinsic value, personal payoff, and choice
- Week 3: Goal and Purposes for Adult Learning
- Institutional--adult patrons are learning to help their company, network, or organization grow
- Individual--adult patrons are learning for personal growth
- Societal growth--adult patrons are learning to help society grow
- Week 4: Becoming a Reflective Practitioner
- Reflect on standard reference questions received, and determine why the response was given in the manner it was.
- Develop goals for working with adults
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: Library staff and information specialists who want to know more about adult learning theory and instruction in order to support patron learning. Technology trainers who are responsible for staff training.
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 learning, learning theory