This paper will review research pertaining to the value of cultivating a Community of Practice (CoP) framework in the workplace. It will examine how such a framework can be applied to an academic library environment to foster a collaborative, inclusive, and healthy workplace while directly supporting the library’s strategic plan and directions.
The conceptual Reference Trainers CoP framework outlined in this paper will provide an example of how libraries can utilize their institution’s Learning Management System (LMS) for this purpose, and offers recommendations and considerations for developing a CoP framework ready for implementation.
As a community of like-minded individuals engaged in cooperative training and resource-sharing activities, creating a Reference Trainers CoP can provide support for those pursuing best practices for the benefit of colleagues across a library system who are involved in the development of reference staff and engaged in the evolution of reference service models.
This paper also discusses the process involved in transferring reference training program materials to a LMS. The author created a “Reference Training Course” for new and existing employees working in reference and research services. The author provides a toolkit for reference trainers interested in utilizing a LMS for creating their own reference training modules, as supplement to their in-person training.
The toolkit offers ways in which the author approached a course build without having any prior knowledge of instructional design or exposure to the LMS software. It includes the following: recommendations for simplifying the process using course design templates, creating learning outcomes based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, a list of freely available instructional design training videos, and best practices.
In addition to supporting colleagues interested in online training program creation, these materials will also provide initial supportive content for the Reference Trainers CoP as previously discussed. It is the author’s hope that experience gained through using the LMS software in this way will expose members of this future CoP to the ways in which training programs can be made more accessible and engaging for staff undergoing reference training.
The author envisions this CoP framework to be a pilot that demonstrates how a LMS can be utilized for other library staff training and development environments as well as expand beyond institutional boarders, to the greater academic library community.
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