CoFHE NW AGM: Learner Scenarios 1
Posted February 5, 2010on:
For my presentation at this years CoFHE NW AGM I asked all attendees to focus on assessing learners needs and how libraries can resource their differing learning styles. Based on scenarios, the attendees discussed the current challenges faced by libraries in meeting evolving students needs and then moved on to discuss how technology could potentially help. Over the next few blog entries I will focus on each scenario and the comments received during the session.
Hannah is a very sociable person and tends to enjoy working with others or in a team. She spends a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter discussing coursework with her friends. She seems to always be on her mobile phone.
She finds studying in quiet environments extremely difficult and prefers to be “in the thick of it”.
In the main she uses study materials recommended to her either by her tutor or her friends.
Creating a dedicated space for learners to work in a group can prove difficult in a lot of college libraries due to the overall size available. Some colleagues commented that there was discussion space available elsewhere in the college that could be utilised for these purposes. Maybe libraries need to start utilising the space elsewhere within the college and not become physically restricted to the four walls provided by the current library?
There is definitely an opportunity here for the libraries to exploit the use of mobile technologies. There are already a lot of libraries sending out overdues from their library catalogue via SMS but what else can they do? The suggestions included: creating a library of SD cards preloaded with appropriate material which could be loaned to students for use on their mobile devices (or indeed devices such as PSPs and iPod Touches loaned from the library), and the utilisation of bluetooth technology for sending material directly to the learner’s phone. The interest in multi card readers was high and, where they are in use, provide extremely good value for money.
I would add to these comments that libraries really do now need to exploit mobile devices. We are now starting to see universities creating their own apps for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch which brings not just the library catalogue to the learners mobile but also online resources and Virtual Learning Environments.
I was surprised from the scenario that Twitter and Facebook were not mentioned as providing value to library services. So many college and public libraries are now utilising these sites to reach their learners and promote the materials and services they have available. They are also ideal for keeping librarians up-to-date with developments and in touch with their colleagues.