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Empowerinng Staff Through Tech Skills Building: Tech2Know?


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Presentation for Computers in Libraries 2009.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
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Empowerinng Staff Through Tech Skills Building: Tech2Know?

  1. Rockin' Staff for Everyone: Empowering Your Staff Through Technology Skills Building Sarah Houghton-Jan Digital Futures Manager, San Jose Public Library Author,
  2. The Problem <ul><li>Uneven staff technology skills </li></ul>
  3. The Idea <ul><li>A comprehensive program utilizing web technologies and tools (much like Learning 2.0) </li></ul><ul><li>Why? To teach core technology skills </li></ul>
  4. “ So, Sarah... Do tell us what happened!”
  5. It didn't happen. Plus, I cried (just a wee bit) .
  6. Lessons Learned :[ <ul><li>1) Verbal agreement is not enough – get everything in writing </li></ul><ul><li>2) One person with enough power can kill a valuable project </li></ul><ul><li>3) Not everyone believes that some staff still need basic skills </li></ul><ul><li>4) Not everyone believes that web-based training is valuable </li></ul>
  7. Tech2Know Program Plan <ul><li>Series of progressively complex, short web-based (blog) how-to guides, tutorials, and pointers to other online resources for learning basic technology skills </li></ul><ul><li>One Topic a Week (Live – 2 chances for series)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>A la 23 Things (prizes) and a la Competencies (a pre and post assessment of skills)‏ </li></ul>
  8. 3 Follow-up Elements <ul><li>1) permanent online discussion forums for each topic </li></ul><ul><li>2) a Tech Playground Day </li></ul><ul><li>3) an “Ask the techies” week when the Help Desk would target lingering issues people have had about anything </li></ul>
  9. Some core principles of the Tech2Know program (and other successful staff training programs)‏
  10. Allen County Public Library's “Innovation Through Technology” Program: Photo by Helene Blowers:
  12. Why Invest in Staff Tech Training? Show institutional commitment to lifelong learning Strengthen staff skills and confidence Save money Improve customer service Increase staff retention rate Increase efficiency and productivity Motivate staff to keep learning
  13. What does your staff need to know how to do with technology to do their jobs well? Photo by Korean Resource Center:
  14. Benefits of a Skills-based Approach <ul><li>- Equitable expectations for all staff </li></ul><ul><li>- Reveals training needs </li></ul><ul><li>- Accurate job descriptions </li></ul><ul><li>- Helps with performance evaluations </li></ul><ul><li>- Consistent customer service </li></ul><ul><li>- Helps staff adjust and handle change </li></ul>
  15. Project Planning <ul><li>Begin with a comprehensive plan, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Skill Lists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Reassessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Evaluation </li></ul></ul>
  16. Planning Questions <ul><li>1) What are your goals? </li></ul><ul><li>2) Who manages the project? </li></ul><ul><li>3) Do you have, or need to create, a skills list? </li></ul><ul><li>4) Do you have a timeline in mind? </li></ul><ul><li>5) What are your resources (funding & staff)? </li></ul><ul><li>6) What training resources exist, and which ones need to be created? </li></ul>
  17. Ensure Staff Buy-In <ul><li>- Listen: ask staff for their input and use it. </li></ul><ul><li>- Keep everyone informed. </li></ul><ul><li>- Reassure staff that they don’t have to know it all now. </li></ul><ul><li>- Managers must follow project plan. </li></ul><ul><li>- Hold a brainstorming session or party. </li></ul><ul><li>- Fun. Rewards. Food. </li></ul>
  18. Ensure Admin Buy-In <ul><li>- Write a purpose statement </li></ul><ul><li>- Determine measurable deliverables (% increase in skills by individual or unit, # of classes or hours completed, etc.)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>- Build training in to performance evaluations </li></ul><ul><li>- Train administration/management first or separately (if need be)‏ </li></ul>
  19. Creating a Training Program <ul><li>- Decide on types and numbers of trainings </li></ul><ul><li>- Start with the basic topics </li></ul><ul><li>- Open trainings to all staff…period </li></ul><ul><li>- Mandatory of voluntary attendance? </li></ul><ul><li>- Training budget based on staff needs </li></ul><ul><li>- Set goals and rewards </li></ul>
  20. Four Types of Learning
  21. Scheduled Learning <ul><li>- Peer training (train the trainer)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>- Classroom training (small or large groups)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>- Daily or weekly learn-by-email tutorials </li></ul><ul><li>- Webcasts, teleconferences, conferences, unconferences, and outside seminars </li></ul><ul><li>- Use in-house talent! </li></ul><ul><li>- Bring consultants in for weird topics or large groups </li></ul>
  22. Unscheduled Learning <ul><li>- Read a book, article, listserv or blog post </li></ul><ul><li>- Review online tutorials </li></ul><ul><li>- See what other nearby libraries are doing </li></ul><ul><li>- View recorded webcasts, podcasts, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>- Asynchronous online courses </li></ul><ul><li>- On the spot I-gotta-know-this-now peer training </li></ul>
  23. Ongoing Learning <ul><li>- Give staff 15 minutes a day to study/learn. </li></ul><ul><li>- Schedule 1 off-desk hour for self-study. </li></ul><ul><li>- Encourage conference/lecture attendance. </li></ul><ul><li>- Share online tutorials, printed materials, demos. </li></ul>
  24. Elearning Options <ul><li>- Online Programming for All Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>- SirsiDynix Institute </li></ul><ul><li>- WebJunction Learning Webinars & more </li></ul><ul><li>- Infopeople Webcasts </li></ul><ul><li>- 5 Weeks to a Social Library </li></ul><ul><li>- ALA & State Organization eLearning </li></ul><ul><li>- “In Plain English” series of videos </li></ul>
  25. Training Tips <ul><li>- Add fun! </li></ul><ul><li>- Use real world examples (esp. of libraries)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>- Personalize the exercises </li></ul><ul><li>- Highlight tips and tricks </li></ul><ul><li>- Encourage student independence </li></ul><ul><li>- Ask students to dream at the end </li></ul><ul><li>- Be available and accessible </li></ul>
  26. Become a Better Trainer <ul><li>- Trainees: don’t want to look or feel stupid, lack basic vocabulary, can find classes too fast or too slow, can't absorb very much “new” at once, and worry about revealing ignorance or asking questions </li></ul><ul><li>- Trainers: feel there's never enough time, are bored by repetition, impatient, worry that trainees will be resistant or have different knowledge levels, have to sell too </li></ul>
  27. Tales from the Dark Side (aka how to sabotage your staff's training)‏ <ul><li>- Don't equally apply expectations of staff. </li></ul><ul><li>- Have some supervisors support staff learning and some not so much. </li></ul><ul><li>- Give staff no time for learning. </li></ul><ul><li>- Be as blasé and non-enthusiastic as possible and do not acknowledge success </li></ul>
  28. Ongoing Reassessment <ul><li>- Annual or biannual reviews </li></ul><ul><li>- Goal-setting for individuals and the library </li></ul><ul><li>- Rewards for success </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>* Pay step increase, extra days off, prizes, public recognition </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>- Consequences for failure </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>* Transfer, pay step decrease, demotion </li></ul></ul></ul>
  29. Staff Who Don't Meet Expectations <ul><li>- Are people “untrainable”? </li></ul><ul><li>- If staff don’t meet the bare minimum required to do the job, who suffers? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>* Other staff </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>* The image of the library </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>* The customers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>(P.S. I'm not mean. Allowing incompetent workers to persist is what's mean.)‏ </li></ul>
  30. Measuring Your Success <ul><li>- Compare assessment and reassessment </li></ul><ul><li>- Staff report confidence in their abilities </li></ul><ul><li>- Anecdotal evidence from staff </li></ul><ul><li>- Training evaluations </li></ul><ul><li>- Successful technology launches </li></ul><ul><li>- Better customer service experiences </li></ul>
  31. Celebrate Successes! <ul><li>- Have contests between units/locations </li></ul><ul><li>- Any group that improves 20% on the whole gets a catered lunch </li></ul><ul><li>- Individual rewards are crucial </li></ul><ul><li>- Award for most-improved individual & group </li></ul><ul><li>- Entire library celebrates </li></ul><ul><li>- Do something out of the ordinary </li></ul>
  32. Have a gaming party! Photo by Jenny Levine: Staff trading cards! Image by me.
  33. Have cake! Photos by Homer Township Library: and
  34. Resources <ul><li>Technology Competencies and Training for Libraries , a LTR by Sarah Houghton-Jan </li></ul><ul><li>Accidental Technology Trainer by Stephanie Gerding </li></ul><ul><li>Training for Dummies by Elaine Biech </li></ul><ul><li>Accelerated Learning Handbook by Dave Meier </li></ul><ul><li>**contact me for links to skills lists, training tutorial sites, etc.** </li></ul>
  35. Questions? <ul><ul><li>Sarah Houghton-Jan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>web: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>email: [email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IM: LibrarianInBlack </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skype: LibrairanInBlack </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook: </li></ul></ul>Ask her anything. Really!