Val Skelton Identifying Skills Gaps and Fostering Information Skills
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By Sarah Huibregtse and Val Skelton


Series co-producers Sarah Huibregtse and Val Skelton discuss why information skills are so business critical to organisations and reflect on the ways in which information professionals can truly make a difference to the working lives of their colleagues - and the effectiveness of their organisations.


FreePint Topic Series: Best Practices in Information Skills DevelopmentAs the Topic Series "Best Practices in Information Skills Development" develops we will be exploring a range of issues including how to identify skills gaps, how to create and deliver training programmes that will really make a difference to your organisations, and much more.

As always with FreePint content, we will focus on the truly practical. We will share real-world experiences and hints and tips from information professionals and training experts around the world.

Information Skills Are Business Critical

The business landscape in which we work is always changing. Challenging business and economic environments, the rapid adoption of new technologies in the digital workplace and pressure on resources mean the information professional's role is one of constant change and challenge.

Therefore, we have a critical role to play in ensuring that our organisations gain maximum value from information investments and that our colleagues have the appropriate skills to find and exploit information while avoiding the potential pitfalls of using inappropriate, outdated or inaccurate information.

Identifying the Need

Every organisation's information skill requirements are different. By conducting an assessment or analysis of skills needs, the information professional will be able to develop a plan to address needs within the organisation's predetermined parameters and resources. An excellent example of effective needs analysis can be found in Duncan Chappell's article "Information Skills for Art and Design".

Fighting for Attention

Of course, it is not just the information professional who is challenged and stretched in the workplace. How can we encourage our time-poor colleagues to invest in information skills development? And is it possible to teach them something really valuable in 30 minutes or less?!

In his article "Bite-Size Training - Making a Difference with Short, Face-to-Face Sessions", Andy Tattersall describes how informal "bite-size training" works by breaking down topics into easy to digest sessions that are informal, interactive and focus on the key, practical aspects of a topic.

Tips for Terrified Trainers

As the role of the information professional becomes more focused on developing information expertise in others, training will become an increasingly valuable skill. But training can be a terrifying experience. Tim Buckley Owen is an information professional with many years of training experience behind him as well as a previous regular contributor to FreePint.

His upcoming article "Slow Motion Train Crashes and How to Avoid Them" provides guidance and tips on how to develop your face-to-face training skills. Remember that most of the hard work should be done before the training even takes place. Make sure you know your audience and focus on practical activities for the delegates whenever possible.

Coming Soon

We're asking you to participate in our "FreePint Survey: Information Skills Development". The data you share will help us build a clear picture of how organisations are approaching information skills development. Please take a few moments to participate and share your experiences.

Watch for upcoming webinars that will present resources and strategies to developing and maintaining information skills... More information will follow shortly.

We look forward to sharing these and many more tips and ideas as we progress through this Topic Series.

This Blog Item is part of the FreePint Topic Series "Best Practices in Information Skills Development".

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