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E is for e-learning: essential ingredient or artificial additive?

E is for e-learning: essential ingredient or artificial additive?

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E is for e-learning: essential ingredient or artificial additive?

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  1. E is for e-learning: essential ingredient or artificial additive? Andrew Booth, Senior Lecturer in Evidence Based Healthcare Information, ScHARR, University of Sheffield

  2. FOLIO(Facilitated Online Learning as an Interactive Opportunity) Is a distance learning programme of 12 professional development modules for health librarians, funded by the NeLH Librarian Development Programme and delivered by ScHARR, University of Sheffield

  3. FOLIO Courses • Delivered by email (jiscmail) & supporting website • Designated Facilitator (Module Co-ordinator) rotating within team • “Toolbox” of methods common to each course • Innovations in each course as “testbed”

  4. FOLIO module websites • The modules are supported by websites that contain the FOLIO module course materials • The individual websites can be accessed via the NeLH FOLIO webpage (

  5. FOLIO website example

  6. Pilot FOLIO programme • The pilot FOLIO programme was commissioned by the NeLH and ran from Jan to May 2003 Three modules: • Project Management (Jan-Feb) • Evaluating Your Service (Feb-Mar) • Evidence-based Librarianship (Mar-May)

  7. The Evaluation Report • An evaluation report of the FOLIO pilot is available at: • In Dec 2003, based on the success and popularity of the pilot, ScHARR was commissioned by the NeLH to deliver 12 new FOLIO modules during the period 2004-2006

  8. Current FOLIO programme The team structure: • Andrew Booth (Programme Director) • Alan O’Rourke (Programme Manager) • Anthea Sutton and Lynda Ayiku (Learning Resource Co-ordinators) • Tricia Campsell (Course Administrator)

  9. Semester One • Information for Social Care (I4SC) [Mar – May; Anthea] • Managing Change for Health Information Professionals (MCHIP) [Jun – Jul; Alan] • Maximising the Impact of your Service (MAXIM) [Sept – Oct; Lynda] • E-Learning [Oct – Nov; Anthea]

  10. Market Research • E-learning as consolidation, diversification or enhancement? • Technical competencies well represented. E-learning for refreshing and updating skills? • ‘Blended approach’ should be considered. • Generic courses to be used, adapted or substituted? • Needs coherent and coordinated approach to national provision for e-learning and face-to-face. • Need to identify medium demand courses (outside Top 5) with pooled national demand. • Need for evidence-based training needs assessment Education, Training and Development for NHS Librarians: Supporting e-learning (2003)

  11. Devise, wit; write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio. Shakespeare. Love’s Labour’s Lost. Act 1 Scene ii.

  12. Devise • Curriculum • Timetable & Scheduling • Course design and storyboarding • Icebreaker • Tasks • Portfolio

  13. Wit • Quotations • Anecdotes • Humorous names and scenarios • Competition e.g. Rogues’ Gallery “I've really enjoyed doing this course.  It had the right balance of reading, practical exercises and humour (PM)” “The variety of tasks and use of humour. Much appreciated! (Eval)” . 

  14. Write & Pen • Exercises divided up among team • Supportive materials (e.g. briefings, powerpoints) • Edited down for tone and brevity • Transfer to Web site • “Bite-sized chunks” via daily email • WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

  15. The “whole volume” • Briefings • Self-Reflective Exercises • Group Discussion • Buddy Interaction • Guided Reading • Voting • Telephone Conference

  16. Why e-learning for health librarians and other NHS professionals? • Difficult to get away from the workplace: • Didn't have travel - at this time it's hard to take a whole day away from work, arrange coverage etc, but I was able to do most of this in small chunks in the evenings and lunch hours. (Eval) • Face-to-face training can only skim the surface of demand • Extension of academic learning to skills-based learning • NHSU Strategic Plan: • “…a blend of e-learning and face-to-face provision, and a focus on learning at work combined with a variety of other choices for the learner depending on the particular programme. Our emphasis on work-based learning reflects the preferred learning style of the target population and recognises the time and work pressures that they face”. • Fitting that librarians trial such approaches to CPD

  17. Optimal Structures and Processes • Motivation - balance of learning/recreational tasks (icebreakers, quizzes and competitions) Certificate of completion. • One-to-One Peer Support - participants interact with a fellow course member (“buddy”) in completing collaborative exercises. • Social Interaction - participants interact via group email discussions for exchange of views and wider issues • Facilitation team support – reassurance to those who fall behind, designated “catch-up” period and opportunity for extensions. FOLIO team respond within a maximum of 48 hours.

  18. Lessons learnt from evaluations • Four weeks too short – Six weeks plus two week catch up period • Smaller numbers of participants • Portfolio submission • Voting is not useful • Opinion on buddy approach is polarised • More than the equivalent of “one day study day”!

  19. Taking forward the market research • The FOLIO Curriculum Planning Group helps plan the FOLIO syllabus The group includes: • Representatives from the CILIP Health Libraries Group and the LKDN Workforce Development Group • An e-learning expert • A graduate of the FOLIO pilot • Suppliers and commissioners

  20. Observations on Information for Social Care • 96% of respondents rated the course materials as good or very good. • The most useful type of course material was briefings • The most enjoyable type of course material was briefings and buddy interaction • 80% of respondents found the I4SC website useful or very useful

  21. Observations on Managing Change for Health Information Professionals (MCHIP) - 1 • “I think this course has been excellent in terms of organisation, facilitation, readings, course materials & the online lecture was very good. My only quibble is with the group discussions, as it can get rather tedious reading through so many emails, although many did raise useful points”. • “Particularly enjoyed the range of activities, and the sense of belonging provided by the buddy exercise and group interactions. These prevented the course being too isolating and helped with motivation to complete tasks at a regular rate”.

  22. Managing Change for Health Information Professionals (MCHIP) - 2 Overall, how would rate the course materials used on the MCHIP course? Which type of course material did you find most useful?

  23. The Way Forward • Maximising the Impact of your Service (September-October) • Introduction to e-Learning (October-November) • Potential articles for HILJ, etcetera • Spin-offs (Books; repeats; self-directed materials) Expressions of interest form at:, or email Tricia Campsell, Course Administrator at:

  24. E-learning is neitheressential ingredientnorartificial additive! • It is one of several learning approaches under “blended learning” • It suits some, but not all learning styles • It reaches complementary audiences to face-to-face training • It requires ever more imaginative ways of delivery • It is great fun to deliver!

  25. Acknowledgements • No longer a one man band, now a team effort – the errors were mine, the success is ours: Lynda Ayiku, Andrew Booth, Tricia Campsell, Alan O’Rourke and Anthea Sutton. • The “Sixth member” of the FOLIO team is Alison Turner, the driving force behind the revamped NeLH Librarian Development Programme • The Curriculum Development Group • The participants!

  26. Any Questions? • Contact the FOLIO course team at: • Keep an eye on the FOLIO website for future courses and developments: