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European Association for Health Information and Libraries
Association Européenne pour I'Information et les Bibliothèques de Santé


How to ...... increase the efficacy of a training course

In these revolutionary times the role of libraries sometimes may appear doubtful. The offer of easy information resources to end-users is impressive; new technologies have made possible the finding of information from personal workstations. Intermediate searching is decreasing in most institutions. And most of us knows that the future of our role is in the education and training of our customers.

Educating readers on how to make the best use of available information resources is done by the librarian using different techniques:

  • one-to-one tuition
  • small information groups
  • through official programs and schedules

The most effective way of organising a course establishing an official programme with clear topics and dates.

To make your training the most effective possible, some points should be considered:

Before the start of the training:

  • know your customers, their needs and priorities (through personal interviews, a short questionnaire, a sample of your customers)

  • define a calendar of events, keeping in mind other primary events in your institution and of your customers

  • if your institution has a training unit, involve them (team work is a key to success)

  • communicate the calendar well in advance and try to avoid changes in dates

  • send a personal reminder to those customers that need it (e.g. you know for example they are very busy, or that they would benefit and require your training, or their attendance could represent the success of your course)

  • promote your course/programme in libraries, at common meeting points in your institution, with managers

  • keep the number of participants low

  • distribute reference material before the training programme (two weeks)

  • distribute draft agenda (one week)

During the training

  • see that the room is comfortable

  • distribute photocopies of your slides and remember to leave a space for personal comments

  • avoid interruptions

  • accept any questions

  • appoint a reference point for the topic dealt

After the training

  • Ask for a written and anonymous assessment of the course (before leaving the room)

  • If the feedback received indicates the need of advanced training, suggest a periodic user group (half an hour every so often could prove beneficial) or refer back to the reference point

  • Adjust your training according to the feedback received.

Generally before a training session everyone is keener to work on contents and presentations, but the organisation and logistics aspects are very important including the communication capacities. But this is a different story ..

Luisa Vercellesi

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Contents No. 49


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