Bridging the Gap: Self-Directed Staff Technology Training
Undergraduates, as members of the Millennial Generation, are proficient in Web 2.0 technology and expect to apply these technologies to their coursework—including scholarly research. To remain relevant, academic libraries need to provide the technology that student patrons expect, and academic librarians need to learn and use these technologies themselves. Because leaders at the Harold B. Lee Library of Brigham Young University (HBLL) perceived a gap in technology use between students and their staff and faculty, they developed and implemented the Technology Challenge, a self-directed technology training program that rewarded employees for exploring technology daily. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Technology Challenge through an analysis of results of surveys given to participants before and after the Technology Challenge was implemented. The program will also be evaluated in terms of the adult learning theories of andragogy and selfdirected learning. HBLL found that a self-directed approach fosters technology skills that librarians need to best serve students. In addition, it promotes lifelong learning habits to keep abreast of emerging technologies. This paper offers some insights and methods that could be applied in other libraries, the most valuable of which is the use of self-directed and andragogical training methods to help academic libraries better integrate modern technologies.