Use or adapt this outline to offer your own Planning & Coordinating Technology Instruction workshop.
- Introduce yourself, tell a story about an experience you have had with planning & coordinating technology instruction.
- Identify the expected outcomes for the training. Note that there is not just one way to offer technology instruction services, but that there are many ways. It takes some experimenting and some flexibility in order to find what works best at any library. Everyone still needs to consider the same factors, though.
- Identify the opportunity to network, learn from others, and share ideas.
- State the goal is to walk away with 2-3 new ideas.
- Set ground rules: Share ideas, respect others, ask questions, have fun.
- Round Robin: Have everyone give their name, share what they do, and something they want to learn?
- Discussion: What technology instruction is already being offered at your library? How would you like to expand that? What is your vision for technology instruction?
- Discuss the reasons for having tech instruction in libraries: Digital literacy, meet the needs of community, provide equal access.
- Talk about the various types of tech training taking place in libraries: individual instruction, classroom, formal, informal, open labs, using volunteers and partners, and more.
- Important to identify a goal, determine resources, and then develop programs/services that are realistic.
- The process for planning is the same, regardless of what type of program/service you offer, regardless of what size library you are. You may scale it down or look at things differently, but it is not that different. This workshop provides a process.
- Handout: Describe the resources included on the handout: Resources for Planning & Coordinating Technology Instruction
- Handout: Briefly look at Planning Technology Training Programs
Meeting Community Needs
- Focus technology training efforts on what is actually needed in the community, as opposed to what the library wants to teach.
- Have discussion, brainstorm ways to determine community needs: surveys, community involvement, formal needs assessments, and in-house statistics, for example.
- It is important to identify who the target audience is for tech training, and what is the goal or purpose of the program. It may be difficult to focus on the entire community you serve. If you focus on a specific audience, need, or goal you can focus your efforts.
- Handout: Planning Technology Training Programs, “Purpose” section
- Group discussion: Have students discuss who might be the target audience of a tech training program. Have them draft a sample goal for a tech training program based on who their target audience is. Have groups share their ideas with the class.
- It is important to identify all available resources during the planning process, as well as to identify resources that need to be acquired. Resources include facilities, equipment, technology, staff, time, money. Resources also include other departments in the library and other organizations in the community.
- Physical resources can include locations for instruction, inside or outside the library. Also include furniture, power, Internet connections, and other parts of the physical building infrastructure.
- Technology resources include computers, projectors, mouse, keyboards, printers, scanners, speakers, gadgets, or any other technology that would be needed to teach a class. Technology resources also include software packages, including cloud computing software, that might be needed for technology training.
- Staff resources include paid and volunteer employees who will be involved in tech training. This also includes the time that will be spent by staff on tech training and how that will be scheduled.
- Department resources include coordinating with other departments in your library or city, such as IT, public relations, or volunteer coordinator. This could also include other service departments like children’s services, to provide parallel or joint programs.
- Handout: Planning Technology Training Programs, “Resources” and “Marketing” section.
- Group discussion: Have students discuss what resources are available that relate to tech training, and brainstorm new, innovative ways to use them to provide tech training. Have groups share their ideas with the class.
- Logistics covers all of the details about offering computer classes. The first question is what types of classes will you offer? Will they be scheduled and in a classroom, or unscheduled individual appointments? Will they take place in the library, or out in the community? Who will teach the classes? Staff or volunteers? These questions define the service model.
- The next thing to determine is all of the specifics about the classes. What time of day? Will you require registration? How will you schedule them so they are at a time when people can attend?
- It can be a little bit more difficult to determine how you will decide what topics to teach. You should first look back to the goal/purpose of the program to try and find classes that fit in to that plan. You should also look at what the community wants and needs most. Lastly, you need to consider what is possible, given staff time and ability level.
- If you will offer unscheduled individual instruction, how will you meet and manage fluctuating demand? If you will offer individual instruction by appointment, how will you manage requests and scheduling?
- Will you do anything to assess the skills of technology students? Will you do anything to place them in the appropriate class level?
- You should also consider if you need to develop any policies & procedures. These might cover what is acceptable behavior for students and instructors, or it might just be guidelines that instructors can follow when planning classes.
- Handout: Planning Technology Training Programs, “Logistics” section
- Handout: Computer Help Appointment Request Form
- Handout: Computer Skills Assessment
- Group discussion: Have students discuss what types of classes they would like to offer, based on the goals they developed earlier in the class. Have groups share their ideas with the class
Evaluating and Improving Programs
- It is important to also plan to evaluate existing programs periodically and make improvements. Even a highly successful program will become outdated over time.
- Consider how you will evaluate the success of the program. How will you have students provide feedback or evaluate classes? How will you get feedback from teachers?
- Many factors should be considered in evaluating tech training programs, especially:
- Are you meeting the goals or the program?
- Are you meeting the objectives of the class?
- Do trainers need more support?
- Are there issues with the learning environment?
- Are classes being marketed correctly?
- When designing surveys, try to have a mix of qualitative and quantitative questions. Most surveys just gauge people’s satisfaction, but you can also create surveys that tie to learning objectives of the class to see if people learned something new.
- Look at evaluations and feedback for overall issues that need addressing, as well as indicators of success. Maybe certain types of classes are more popular than others, or certain times are more well attended.
- Handout: Planning Technology Training Programs, “Logistics” section
- Handout: Participant Feedback Form – Example
- Group discussion: Have students discuss how they would use evaluation results to improve a technology training program. How would responses to different questions on the Participant Feedback Form influence future programming? Have students share ideas.
Using Community Partners
- Identify community partners to involve in instructional services.
- Think outside the library. Are there potential community partners that could offer space, staff, or volunteers?
- What other groups are using computers to do trainings in your community? Have any services gone online that may have an agency connected to it that will need to train their constituent?
- Use laptops to deliver instruction, even to small groups, in the community. Not worthwhile if you are only demonstrating – people need to be able to practice. If laptops are not available, then can you partner to bring outside organizations in to use the lab?
- Handout: Planning Technology Training Programs, “Improving & Expanding” section
- Group discussion: Have students discuss brainstorm potential partner organizations for technology instruction. How could they use community partners to improve technology instruction programs? Have students share ideas.
- Do your staff have the basics? Set the bar and identify the skills and knowledge needed to be prepared to be excellent technology trainers.
- Handout: Go over some of the Technology Trainer Competencies
- Group discussion: How can competencies be used to direct staff training? How can staff be better supported in learning and professional development with regards to technology training? How can you create a culture of learning in your library?
- Review key points
- Activity: Have participants write down what they would like to do to contribute to technology planning at their library.