Online Workplace Training in Libraries

Article excerpt

This study was designed to explore and describe the relationships between preference for online training and traditional face-to-face training. Included were variables of race, gender, age, education, experience of library employees, training providers, training locations, and institutional professional development policies, etc. in the library context. The author used a bivariate test, Kruskal-Wallis test and Mann-Whitney U test to examine the relationship between preference for online training and related variables.

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In the era of information explosion, the nature of library and information services makes library staff update their work knowledge and skills regularly. Workplace training has played an important role in the acquisition of knowledge and skills required to keep up with this information explosion. As Richard A. Swanson states, human resource development (HRD) is personnel training and development and organization development to improve processes and enhance the learning and performance of individuals, organizations, communities, and society (Swanson 2001). Training is the largest component of HRD. It helps library employees acquire more skills through continuous learning. Online workplace training is a relatively new medium of delivery. This new form of training has been explored in the literature of human resources development in corporation settings (Macpherson, Elliot, Harris, and Homan 2004), but it has not been adequately explored in university and library settings. Universities are unique settings in which to study HRD, and libraries are unique settings in which to examine HRD theory and practice. In human resource development literature there are studies on participation (Wang and Wang 2004) from the perspective of individual motivation, attitudes, etc.; however;, more research needs to be conducted to explore library employees' demographics related to online training in the unique library contexts, such as various staff training and development, as well as training policies. HRD literature includes studies of online learning in formal educational settings (Hiltz and Goldman 2004; Shank and Sitze 2001; Waterhouse 2005), and there are studies on relationships between national culture and the utility of online training (Downey, Wentling, Wentling, and Wadsworth 2005). But there has been very little research conducted in terms of online workplace training for library staff. It is not clear what relationships exist among preferences for online training and demographic variables such as ethnicity, gender, age, educational level, and years of library experience. Due to lack of research in these areas, workplace training in libraries will be less effective if certain ethnic groups, or certain age groups, prefer traditional face-to-face training as libraries move toward online training. The author believes that research should govern library practice. Therefore, it is necessary to research this topic and disseminate the findings. Because of the growth in online training, there is a need to gain a better understanding of these relationships.

Purpose of the study

The study aims to reveal the relationships between preferences for online or traditional face-to-face training and variables such as ethnicity, gender, age, educational level, and years of experience. It also studies the relationships among preference for online training and other variables of training locations, training providers, training budgets, and professional development policies. The constructs are: the preference for online training was related to demographics, library's training budget, professional development policies, training providers, and the training locations. These factors were included in the research questionnaire. We begin with the research questions, review the current literature, and then discuss the method, results, and need for further research.

Correlational research questions

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