The Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund hosts "Knowledge Sharing and Library Strengthening" workshop for Librarians.

Posted on May 17, 2022

The Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) hosted the Africa Host Universities (AHU) Knowledge Sharing and Library Strengthening workshop for Librarians from AHUs and international partners. The workshop was hosted virtually, from 15-16 February 2022, as one of the RSIF initiatives to strengthen the capacity of AHU Libraries. RSIF partners with 15 Africa Host Universities and 19 International Partner Institutions (IPS). 

The University of Pretoria’s Department of Library Services (DLS) presented on Creating Engaging Information Literacy Courses for Self-guided Experiential Learning: the case of the University of Pretoria. Representatives from the DLS included Ms Anna Siwela (Deputy Director for Academic Support); Lesego Makhafola (Information Specialist: Engineering, Built Environment, and Information Technology Faculty Library), and Christine Nel (Information Specialist: Theology Faculty Library).

The presentation sought to report on the literature studied as well as the experiences of Information Specialists when delivering content, training, and assessments for information literacy and the retention and application of lessons learned in real-life cases as part of experiential learning. The presentation included the vision and mission of the library, embedded librarianship practices at the UP DLS, user experience, the UP Blended Learning Environment, the use of a Virtual Learning Environment, UP DLS information literacy initiatives, as well as lessons learned.

Some of the lessons learned while developing Information Literacy interventions that are linked to self-paced experiential learning are as follows:

  1. The library must provide personalised learning for users
  2. Users must control the management of the content and choose their engagement
  3. Blackboard/ Learning Management System (LMS) training is required for Information Specialists who collaborate online
  4. Proper planning and implementation take time
  5. Adaption to the current learning environment is important
  6. Constant feedback is important
  7. The inclusion of multimedia content should be considered and ideally implemented
  8. Accessibility issues need to be identified and resolved (use Blackboard Ally to identify and resolve issues)
  9. Information Specialists’ upskilling, Digital- and Media literacies should be considered
  10. The library must play an active role and promote information literacy as an important component of learning content at a first-year level for accreditation points at the Department of Higher Education and Training
  11. Collaborations, partnerships, teamwork, and benchmarking are important to the success of information literacy and experiential learning programmes

In the future, the DLS will explore the High-Flex Learning Model for library instruction and self-paced learning.

Some of the feedback from the participants during the presentation were as follows:

“You are so organised and have used technology well. You are certainly user-centered. Thank you so much for sharing” - Theodosia

“Wow, this is a very informative and insightful presentation” - Aba

“There are so many initiatives worth benchmarking in UP as per this presentation. The IL handling is great and remote access to resources.” - Samuel

- Author Lesego Makhafola
Published by Elsabe Olivier

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