This e-Forum was held on February 7-8, 2023. It was moderated by Melissa Brooks from the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries and Megan Heady from West Virginia University Libraries.
We asked attendees eight sets of questions during the e-Forum.
How do you identify training needs in your department or unit for new and current employees?
Some of the responses included sending out a survey to staff and managers; reviewing standards, trends, and core competencies to compare to current position descriptions and skills in the department; having 1:1 meetings with staff to discuss their goals for professional development; reviewing work completed to look for knowledge gaps; and maintaining awareness of training opportunities to share with staff. The Tilmor Process was mentioned as a useful way to identify training needs or gaps in workflows. Two other suggestions were to review old problem reports and resolved tickets for both training and documentation creation and to use customer interactions to identify needs.
How do you organize training for new staff? What tools do you find helpful in conducting training (virtually and in-person)?
Participants said they use spreadsheets and checklists to organize training and onboarding for new staff. One suggestion was to have team members go through their usual day or week to compile steps or topics needed. Arranging shadowing sessions and training sessions with experienced staff were also recommended. Some of the tools cited included Trello Boards, LibGuides, shared documentation, and video meetings with screen sharing for virtual training. Vanderbilt linked to their Alma documentation to share with others.
What are some techniques that you utilize for determining learning styles, and do you adjust training structures accordingly? Do you provide multiple methods such as hands-on, training videos, classes, etc.?
Having conversations with staff to discuss their preferred learning styles was recommended and trying different methods to see what works if someone does not know their style. It was also suggested that styles may vary depending on the content being taught, for example technical training vs. theoretical.
What are your go-to resources for training new and existing employees? This can include online classes or courses, webinars, training materials from LMS, conferences, etc.
Several resources were recommended. These included email lists, classes, YouTube, podcasts, state and regional associations, webinars, consortia, and vendor training material. Utilizing training provided by your university was also cited. Here are some links that were provided:
- ALA Core – https://www.youtube.com/@ALACore
- [Editor’s note: Core members get free access to an exclusive archive of recordings of all our past webinars.]
- ALCTS past webinars
- Core Fundamentals classes and webinars
- Library of Congress Classification online training
- Library Juice classes
- Workshops List — MCLS
- Podcasts (Library of Congress)
- T is For Training on Apple Podcasts
- Amigos Workshops
- WebJunction Course Catalog
- In the Library with a Leadpipe
What assessment tools are beneficial in measuring learning outcomes? How do you assess a person’s learning and the effectiveness of the tool/resource? How do you gain feedback on training? How do you measure your training success and incorporate feedback to make improvements?
We discussed conducting post-training reviews, having conversations after attending training, and reviewing work completed after training. Another participant provided the slip they use after training as a tool for assessment where students are asked to fill in three things: something you learned, something you already knew, and something you want to know more about.
We have talked about training across the board, now let’s look at when training doesn’t produce the results you have expected. What are some ways in which you have handled reteaching skill sets or covering unexpected gaps in training?
Trying something new was recommended when older methods are not working. Scavenger hunts or other games were also suggested to make learning fun. Creating LibGuides and interactive tutorials with tools such as Articulate that incorporate quizzes to assess learning were also discussed.
What tips do you have for training that we haven’t talked about yet?
The last piece of advice offered was to maintain contacts and a professional network. It’s helpful to be reminded that you are not alone and staying connected with colleagues will aid in that.