BCLA Perspectives

Survey: Preferred learning methods for technology

Question: How do you prefer to learn about & keep up with library technology?


We asked respondents to share their preferred methods for learning about technology. Of the 144 responses, about 15% chose only one preferred method for learning, while the majority of respondents selected 3 or 4 preferred methods.

‘Staff training at the workplace’ appealed to the most respondents—74% of responses included this option in their response—followed by ‘learning on your own’ (65%), ‘webinars and other online learning opportunities’ (60%), and ‘external professional development’ (54%). ‘Conferences and seminars’ is the only option that did not appeal to the majority, with selection by only 45% of respondents.

Looking at the total responses, ‘conferences and seminars’ is again a bit of an outlier, representing 15% of all selections made—the other defined choices are within five percent of each other and are closer to an equal share of the responses. Click the image above to enlarge and see these representations. 

‘Other’ was selected in addition to one or more defined choices, and tended to reflect the benefits of personal interactions. While some elaborations highlighted informal discussions with staff and colleagues, others underscored the necessity of interacting with the technology itself. For example, “I tend to find that the best results come from a bare minimum of formal instruction and a lot of personal experience and experimentation.”

A common theme throughout the written responses in the survey, including this question, was the lack of time—either on the clock or on one’s own—for learning new technologies.

Based on these responses it would seem that on-site training would be most welcomed by library workers, as well as time to learn on one’s own (whether that’s unstructured learning—through blogs and websites, for example—or by structured means, like webinars or PD courses).