Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Comparative Evaluation of the Level of Competence Expectations of LIS Educators and Practitioners in Database Management

Academic journal article Journal of Education for Library and Information Science

Comparative Evaluation of the Level of Competence Expectations of LIS Educators and Practitioners in Database Management

Article excerpt

LIS education programs must provide their graduates with the level of competence commensurate with the demands of entry-level positions in the field, particularly in the rapidly evolving area of information technology (IT). This exploratory research provides a conceptual framework for analyzing learning objectives to investigate the extent of alignment between the level of competence proposed in learning objectives of LIS educators and the level of competence required from LIS graduates by LIS practitioners for entry level positions in the area of Database Management (DBM). Learning objectives obtained from DBM educators and practitioners were used to determine and compare the levels of competence proposed by LIS educators and practitioners. Content analysis was applied to the learning objective statements obtained from both groups of respondents to obtain standard learning objectives used in the study. The study utilized a modified database life circle (MDBLC) to provide 5 DBM work processes used to classify DBM work. Findings of the study show that although the most emphasized competence levels in DBM by educators and practitioners are Understand/Procedural Knowledge, and Understand/Conceptual Knowledge, respectively, there is no significant difference in the levels of competence proposed by DBM educators and expected of LIS graduates, at entry-level positions by DBM practitioners.

Keywords: LIS education, evaluation of learning objectives, database management, competency, taxonomy table, content analysis

Introduction

LIS education programs must equip graduates with adequate professional knowledge and skills required to select, acquire, organize, store, maintain, retrieve and disseminate recorded information that will be commensurate with the demands of entry-level positions for LIS graduates (Reitz, 2004). As information technology continues to redefine the professional information management landscape, providing adequate training to prepare new professionals for current and future LIS work has become the challenge of LIS education. As Elmborg (2008) put it, a relevant education for the information sectors will include a synthesis of global, technical, and critical perspectives to encourage librarians to understand the changes they need to enact to ensure relevance for the future. Teaching for problem solving is a major educational goal (Mayer, 2002a) for LIS programs. Educators want their students to be able to transfer what they have learned in the classroom to new situations, such as their jobs, upon graduation. Practitioners also expect that graduates in various fields can transfer what they have learned in school to their job, particularly at entry-level positions. Educators must inculcate in their students a competence level that is transferable to new work environments, particularly in positions involving Database Management (DBM) tasks. Moran (2001) and Base, Hall-Ellis and Kinney (2008) acknowledge that there is a "growing rift" between educators and practitioners regarding the quality of LIS education. Moran is concerned that LIS education may not be targeted at the competence level required from graduates by their employers - the practitioners. An LIS education system in which educators train the students with little or no consideration of what practitioners' expectations are from the graduates in terms of level of competence will likely be out of touch with the reality of their future job demands. Base, Hall-Ellis and Kinney noted that the perception of many library managers is that LIS educators are not giving their students the tools and skills necessary for entry-level positions, particularly in cataloguing. Moran therefore suggested that it is time for LIS educators and practitioners to "connect."

LIS graduates now work in diverse information management institutions with such titles as technology initiatives librarian, internet services librarian, electronic services librarian, digital librarian, information technology librarian, and multimedia services librarian (Moyo, 2002). …

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