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instruction

This weeks reading assignments focused on the process of learning and transfer in learning. One of the topics brought up in chapter 3 of How People Learn was about motivation and its effect on learning and transfer. The chapter discusses that motivation is one of the factors that can impact the transfer of learning. Learners can be grouped into two groups with different concentration: “performance oriented learners” and “learning oriented learners.” The motivation behind learning is something that I have becoming more and more interested in as I think more seriously of what kind of librarian I want to be. Through readings and personal experience I think that learners who are motivated by learning itself are more willing to make more risks in the assignments and projects that they take on. In contrast, I suspect that performance oriented learners will be more conservative in the learning risks that they take so as not to risk their performance on the final assignments and projects. It is suggested in the chapter that these are not fixed traits. As a librarian, I see these contrasting factors as an opportunity to allow learners to expand their knowledge on specific topics by creating programs in libraries that provide learning oriented opportunities for them to take risks which will not have formal consequences. My feeling is that these opportunities allow learners to advance more quickly or easily in formal learning opportunities with less risks of failure.

Another topic of this chapter that caught my attention is what happens when prior cultural knowledge of race, gender, religion, and ethnic affiliations conflict with the learning objectives in a library or classroom? The chapter talks briefly about what happens when knowledge gained from home experiences may differ from what is being learned in public learning spaces. I would like to work in an urban public library, which would serve a diverse population. In a library, how can I best use or work around differences in prior knowledge? I find the suggestion that differences in cultural knowledge should be viewed as strengths to be built on, however that seems difficult to manage in a large group of diverse learners.

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The readings for this week concentrated on instruction in libraries, both electronic tutorials and in person workshops. I found the topics this week particularly interesting because instruction is something that I have been interested in for some time. I had some instruction experience last semester and found the ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation) process to be very interesting. Admittedly however, in my personal lesson planning I typically jumped to the design stage. then to the instruction, and only lightly touched on evaluation on my instruction and on the tools. It is easy to see the benefits in following this model in all stages of instruction specifically in libraries, and the ADDIE process was visible in the other readings for this week.

After completing the readings, it seems that online tutorials best support instruction when it is dealing with software or database use. More specifically, the tutorials seem to be received positively when it helps with navigation and searching in a specific cite. However, I think it is important to notice that the Johnston article suggests that a combination of in person instruction along with screen casts and tutorials be used. I think that would be best, especially for University students unfamiliar with library systems and log-in procedures. It may be difficult to address all of a student’s questions when they are unfamiliar with searching, the library system, and the database. However, once students begin to feel more comfortable, they could use the tutorial as almost a “ready reference” during their research.

Many of the articles that we read were very focused on academic libraries and students in need of research help. I am curious how the results of these studies would translate to a public library for adults and children. Would tutorials be a good resource for patrons of  a public library? I would like to think that they would, however if patrons are taking introduction to Microsoft Office software workshop, is it likely that they would be comfortable accessing similar information online and following along with a tutorial? Perhaps tutorials should be used for more advanced classes, like in excel or Photoshop workshops, where the targeted patrons will likely feel more comfortable using online tutorials. The ADDIE procedure accounts for this kind of analysis and planning of workshops, however I would be interested in reading more about public libraries’ experiences using online tutorials and the success they have had, or not had.