6 Apr 2015

The poll and what was found there

Author: krb3k | Filed under: communication, Uncategorized

Here at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, we host a monthly event called First Thursdays and it’s an opportunity for us to showcase our services, resources, and partnerships. This past week’s First Thursday event was an advertisement for our Spring & Summer classes, but also (thanks to my colleague, Dan Wilson) served as an opportunity to VERY informally poll users about how they prefer to receive instruction (IRB wasn’t necessary as we will only use the information internally).  The results were interesting, but perhaps not surprising:


Question: What method(s) of learning do you prefer?

Classroom: 8
One-to-one: 14
Video: 16
Step-by-step tutorial: 10
Audio podcast: 5

The results caught my eye for two reasons:

  • For the first time in the past four years, not only have my classes not reached their registration limits, but I’ve actually cancelled them because NO ONE signed up. This is very unusual. In talking with colleagues (because you know that when this became a pattern I went rushing off to get opinions about why this was happening- have I saturated the Health System? Has word gotten out that I’m a terrible teacher? Are the topics not relevant??), I discovered that this was happening to them, as well.
  • Another colleague and I were discussing this trend and possible responses. Here are some scenarios and current responses to them: 1) No one is signed up for a class a couple of days prior: question your entire professional existence, then reschedule it for later in the semester at a different time. 2) one or two people are signed up for the class: teach the class (some people cancel classes with only a couple of registrants, and some offer them one-on-one consults). I go ahead and teach it because I already know that the time works for those people, and I already have it on my calendar, so why not?, 3) People are signed up for the class but, when confirming their attendance, one or more reply that they’re now unable to attend: offer them individual consults OR (depending on the topic) provide them with a link to either a “How Do I?” (tutorials with screen shots) or a LibGuide.

As my colleague and I discussed the situation with our classes not attracting participants and what to do about it, the idea of creating videos on various topics came up. In the past we have shied away from creating videos because they are labor-intensive and therefore difficult to update as information changes. Of course, as we both pointed out, this was in the past and video creation has gotten easier, etc, etc. The upshot of our discussion was that we emailed our Director to ask if we might get on the agenda for the next Staff Connexion (our Library-wide staff meeting) to get this topic in front of everyone and figure out how best to proceed. When I saw the results of the poll (even keeping in mind that it was informal, unscientific, and contained a really small sample), the trend seemed to provide more nuance to the trend. At the very least, it gives us somewhere to begin our discussion. I’ll update when I have some outcomes to share. Is this similar to your experience? What have you done in response?