One Tech to Teach Them All: Introducing a tool for choosing the right type of online IL delivery

Are you gearing up for the fall teaching season? Pondering ways to expand the reach of your IL initiatives? Having trouble deciding between creating or updating your interactive tutorials, libguides, or videos?

You’re invited to try out a new tool for selecting digital/online learning objects:

While many of us would like to create digital learning objects (aka DLOs)* that are effective in teaching information literacy skills beyond classroom walls, it can be hard to figure out which type best suits our specific – and often many – needs and requirements. If you’ve ever felt unsure if you should create a handy screenshot, or dedicate time to making a more formal screencast, you’re not alone. While some of you might want to create a just-in-time DLO quickly and easily, others may prefer DLOs with a longer shelf life. No one wants to reinvent the wheel. Here are just a few DLO types that librarians find themselves choosing between:

Recently, our small subgroup of librarians (Judith Logan, Jesse Carliner, Erica Lenton, and Vincci Lui from the Instruction in Library Use Committee’s Learning Object Interest Group), began working on a tool aimed at helping librarians choose the right type of DLO. The most commonly used DLO types were selected for inclusion. Based on librarians’ practical considerations, several key criteria were identified, and each DLO type was evaluated against these criteria.

During an interactive, collaborative session at the recent TRY conference, our subgroup also crowdsourced the tacit knowledge of fellow librarians from U of T, Ryerson, and York. The results of the TRY session were incorporated as we further developed this tool. As the image below illustrates, each DLO type is evaluated against several criteria (such as learning outcomes, learning styles, learning curve, resource intensiveness, reusability, software, etc.). Each DLO type also links to helpful examples for inspiration:

Screenshot of formal screencast section

Screenshot of the section on formal screencasts, one of several DLO types that this tool explores

This is an ongoing collaborative project, and we welcome your expertise and input:

Further reading – for more about the user preferences and usage of DLOs:

*DLOs = used to describe a describe a reusable digital instructional resource that is developed to support learning. DLOs are a sustainable, scalable, and potentially accessible way to deliver information literacy (IL) instruction. They can be standalone objects, or act as a complement to our in-class teaching. They also allow us to reach students whenever/wherever they are, and can be repurposed for different contexts.