Tips for supervisors

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Suggestions for Supervisors

1. Overview the material before assigning any modules.

  • Look at the Purpose of Ref-Ex.
  • Read the Instructions page to familiarize yourself with the purpose of the modules
  • Look at the introduction pages for a brief overview of each module.
  • Read module Review pages for a summary of each module, then decide if your trainee needs to complete all modules. Everyone will be different.
  • You can also determine if you want to coordinate the module material with other training or supplement it with information specific to your library.
  • Read Answer Key pages to see what exercises have been assigned and what your involvement is in the exercises. The exercises may ask the trainee to work with the supervisor, or other library staff, to find how the activity relates specifically to your library.

2. Consider the trainee's learning style.

  • Does the trainee learn things quickly and absorb a lot of new material in a short time or do they need to learn a little bit at a time to thoroughly grasp new ideas?
  • Does the trainee work best alone or should a mentor be assigned to provide support, answer questions?
  • Does the trainee have enough experience to work through the module to the end or will it be best to have the trainee check with you at intervals that you determine when you read through the exercises?
  • If you are unfamiliar with the trainee's learning style, suggest that they do the first module without a specific time limit to find out what pace will work the best for them.
  • Do you want to use this training for small groups rather than individuals, and as refresher training rather than targeting new staff? Keep in mind different learning styles.
Caterpillar at Alice Springs Public Library, Northern Territory

3. Consider specific training needs and how you would like to use the modules.

  • How many? Do you want your trainee to do one, two, or all of the modules? This depends on your knowledge of the trainee's skills, your expectations and needs, and the time available.
  • In what order? All modules work well in sequence, but you might have a special need for assigning them in a different order.
  • Your trainee is requested to ask you throughout the modules and exercises how the presented concepts work specifically in your library. This is an important part of the learning experience. Feedback has shown that staff who are supported through the program have better outcomes.
  • During the module the trainee will complete a series of exercises.
  • Discussing the exercises with the trainee is your way to assess whether or not the trainee is ready to go on to another module or needs to review.
  • Do you want to run this training in small groups? This can be an effective way of team building and for staff to learn about each others' strengths. It can be a useful way for more experienced staff to mentor newer staff, and can help build expertise.
  • Consider integrating this training in your workplace training plan, or staff development plan.
  • Upon completion of each module, a Certificate of Achievement can be printed for the trainee/s.

4.How much time?

Libraries are busy, and it can be a challenge prioritising training. The benefits of the ref-ex model are that this self paced training can be paused at any time. It is important to roster time to do this training, and this time should be when people are not rostered to service points. This will increase the benefits of the training.

  • Over what period of time? Very new employees may take longer or have more questions about basic library procedures.
  • Each module can be scanned and read in an hour, but to visit the links, do the exercises, and absorb the material will take much longer. It will be a better training experience if the trainee isn't expected to cover the material of one module at one sitting. Completing all the modules may work better if done one per week, or every other week for modules where exercises involve examining the reference collection.

Certificate of Achievement and Evaluations

At the end of each module, the trainee is asked to do the following:

  • Complete the exercises and to discuss them with their supervisor.
  • Complete the online evaluation.
  • After completing the six modules print a Certificate of Achievement when you have approved the work.
  • The modules after six can be done in any order once the first six modules have been completed.
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