LOL @ Your Library: Live Online Learning
Paul DeVillo, Tom Cole and Dale Musselman
(all from PLCMC–Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenbury County)
Tool to meet changing needs of staff and customers
Demands of training and costs of training increasing. Always something new for technology, but patrons want us to show them everything and it is becoming impossible to keep up. New channel of communication needed. Librarians have to wear many hats and have many skills–reference, instruction, access, systems, etc.
If you have to go to different venues to train, it takes a lot of time and money. So if you learn online then less driving and we help the environment.
Videoconferencing and the library
Easy to see benefits
Reduced travel time, fuel use, and emissions, could reach out to people who didn’t use the library or couldn’t come to training that was far away
Costs: telepresence was out of their league, IT staff time, and bandwidth
Online conferencing was the solution for their library: space to share ideas, best for informing, little additional hardware needed. They bought software, but remember you can use free open source that Connie Crosby talked about yesterday. Got to love open source. 🙂
How you can use online conferencing:
Staff training, then meetings, then roll out to public offerings
Need high bandwidth
Need headsets with headphones and mic
Need a space that is fairly quiet for presenters
Recommended: VoIP enabled telephones
Always need to consider the needs of your audience! If you are pushing this to the public, do the patrons have the bandwidth to use the service? Do you make different presentations for different bandwidths? There will always be issues with any service, no matter how well you test and plan.
Consider the needs of your trainers and presenters
Hardware and software needs–sometimes different than for the audience
Needed versus actual skills–how do you overcome the skills gap
Producer role–handles technology, helps attendees, frees up trainer/presenter: aka the troubleshooter
VoIP: for webinars, large audience and low interaction
Phone Conference: meetings, small group, high interaction
VoIP & phone: flexible for webinars or training, beware of expense for large groups
Have people check out technology configuration before the session
Yes! Finally someone mentioned Section 508 compliance! Everyone should try to be 508 compliant–it is horrible to have library services and resources that are not accessible to everyone. (I am stepping off my soapbox now)
Remember to market your new online training services.
Take Home Message:
Online training can save travel time and cost, plus get to people that can’t physically get to a training site. But you need people (trainers, presenters and producers) that understand and have the skills to be training in the online environment.