Great expectations

Half way through our ten week information skills programme, it is becoming increasingly clear how student expectations can sometimes differ from what training we offer. 

I have asked myself: Why is this the case? It is partly due to the way the programme is marketed. The posters and flyers consist of dates and times, venue and the named session, but nowhere is there any mention of the aims and objectives of the session or the learning outcome.

If our team ever does something similar again, I think it would be worthwhile to say what the session does and does not cover. In general, our team offers basic introductions to different topics, e.g. the library catalogue, NORA, referencing, search strategies etc. And this is the reason why our publicity needs to be rebranded and our sessions should be promoted as: An introduction to… or Getting started with…. 

In some cases, students expect us to deliver training that is more subject specific, e.g. Searching on specific databases, which is the remit of Information Specialists. 

Some students request training on primary research methods and collection of data – which is the remit of academics.  And in other cases, students request training on specialist software packages, eg. Photoshop, Xilinux and Simulink – which are available in one of the computer labs but which have nothing to do with the library! 

I can understand how this misunderstanding may arise but there is a definite need to communicate clearly what our role as library trainers is! This can be achieved by more effective marketing and liaising more closely with academics and Information Specialists – to make sure we all convey to students what training each one of us offers. And if there is a gap in what is offered – then let’s communicate with each other about how this training need gap may be filled.  

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