Friday, July 30, 2010

e-learning and Web 2.0

I am coming the the end of my life-cycle as a library worker, and although I have spent a decade assisting and advising both staff and public in the effective use of computers, I never have really managed to get the adoption of modern tools fully accepted.

People still seem to want face-to-face training and support. It is friendly, yes, and familiar - but it isn't really cost-effective (or terribly green) to shunt a tutor around in a car, repeating the same material over and over again.

Far better to teach people to find things out for themselves, to train them to find what they need, and to apply themselves to improving their own skills.

The attitudes extend back to our educational system, especially for people who did not move on through to the rather more self-directed forms of higher education - although even people with degrees often still resist finding things out for themselves.

I can't believe how many times I get support calls which I can resolve by simply putting their reported Error Message into Google, or choosing a few keywords to describe what the person was attempting to do, etc.

They appear to think I know everything. And these people work in libraries - where the job can so often be about finding information.

Learning Pool

Anyway, Cardiff Council have already adopted Learning Pool as a channel for rolling out e-learning to all council workers. I did some training on the Moodle-based DLE (dynamic learning environment - sometimes called a VLE or virtual learning environment). I devised a couple of simple induction modules, but have also played around with it as a way of storing FAQs, Tips and Tricks, a staff newsletter, etc.

We have received little encouragement to get staff to use a forum as a virtual coffee room (for instance) which I think might help bring together staff who are scattered through 19 buildings across the city, but I suspect management still don't really believe how much work can get done at the watering hole, and assume it would degenerate into gossip. And they may prove right, too.

Still, it is all in place and ready to go, and Cardiff Central Library is now on Facebook, so perhaps it all eventually, however slowly, moves...

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