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Information Scotland

The Journal of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland

ISSN 1743-5471

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August 2005 Volume 3 (4)

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland

Lifelong Learning

Successful outcomes

One of the most ambitious achievements of the People’s Network was the ICT training for staff. Now there are two new ICT qualifications to aim for. Rhona Arthur explains.

Following the successful roll-out of ICT training to public library staff in Scotland, the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) has completed the development two new qualifications accrediting the original Outcomes 2-8, Net Navigator and Education with the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

As most of you will be aware, the People’s Network identified three key training strands:

  • Outcome 1 - ICT technical skills content, which almost all the UK library authorities chose to deliver by training staff using the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) qualification
  • Outcomes 2-8 - variously described as the supplementary outcomes, library outcomes or contextual outcomes. These Outcomes were delivered in a wide variety of ways - using library staff, national bodies, external training agencies, independent consultants, commissioned training courses, cascade training methods and so on.
  • Advanced Outcomes - the Advanced roles were Net Navigator, Information Consultant, Information Gatekeeper, Information Manager and Educator. Again, the training content and delivery mechanism varied widely.
    The accreditation of the ICT contextual training to sit with the ECDL was raised in the early People’s Network implementation but it was only last autumn that SLIC was contracted to carry out the design work on behalf of the UK library agencies. The Big Lottery Fund funded the development as a key legacy of the People’s Network.

    Although the qualifications have been developed in Scotland with a Scottish awarding body, they are available to the UK-wide (and international) profession.

    It was important that the qualifications recognised the prior learning of the People’s Network training as there was no additional central funding for either accrediting or delivering new training. The SQA say these are the biggest APL (Accreditation of Prior Learning) qualifications on their books. These are work-based qualifications and rely on partnership with employers for the completion of assignments.

    SLIC and the Big Lottery Fund set up a development team - Rhona Arthur (SLIC), Ted Hastings (SQA), Eion Johnston (4mostplus Consultants) and Sheila McCullough (4most plus Consultants) and their work was peer reviewed by content advisers from across the UK. The development team were conscious of the need to balance any variation in the context of library service delivery across the UK and the final content and context notes have UK-wide examples of best practice.

    The development team started by reviewing the work of the original People’s Network training group and training content delivered as part of the programme which many providers and authorities shared with SLIC. It became clear that two qualifications were possible within the SQA’s suite of Professional Development Awards. These qualifications link on to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)[1] and carry academic credits, for use with other qualifications. By the end of March 2005, the qualifications, consisting of a number of core and optional units, were complete along with exemplar assessments.

    The two new qualifications are:
  • Diploma in Applications of ICT in Libraries (5 units)
  • Advanced Diploma in Applications of ICT in Libraries (8 units, including 5 from certificate)

  • The Units are accredited across a range of Level 7-9 on the SCQF. The Diploma is accredited at Level 7 and the Advanced Diploma at Level 8 on the SCQF, or roughly equivalent to HNC and HND levels.[2]

    The content of the Diploma is five single-credit units:
    Unit 1: Locating information on behalf of clients (from Outcome 4)
    Unit 2: Supporting reader development (from Outcome 5)
    Unit 3: Supporting users to ensure effective learning (from Outcome 6)
    Unit 4: Using ICT in professional practice (Combination of Outcomes 2 and 3)
    Unit 5: Supporting clients in the safe and legal use of ICT (Combination of Outcomes 7 and 8) The Advanced Diploma includes additional units:
    Unit 6: Net Navigator (2 credits)
    Unit 7: Educator (2 credits) (candidates would choose ONE of the above)
    SLIC 8: Project (1 credit)

    Target candidates
    As the People’s Network training was workforce-wide, the development team were anxious to take a broad view as to the range of likely candidate. The qualifications are primarily targeted at staff working in the public library services in the UK. This is because they have already completed an extensive, funded training programme. Candidates might include those new to the workplace, staff seeking to improve their promotion prospects or staff using the qualification as evidence for part of the framework for professional qualifications. The qualifications, or individual Units, may also be of interest to staff working in other libraries, such as school or college libraries.

    Candidates would normally be expected to have reached a reasonable level of general education, for example A-Level or SCE Higher and possess reasonable ICT skills, such as PC Passport or ECDL. The qualification supports the CILIP Framework of Qualifications and can be used as evidence towards Certification, Chartership and Revalidation submissions. As an ICT based qualification it covers important, but not all, aspects of library and information work. Discussions have been held with employers to encourage them to be supportive of the qualification, with a view to including it in workforce development. Information has been circulated via the Society of Chief Librarians and UK strategic agencies. Feedback from the senior managers, CILIP, the UK professional body and training providers has been positive.

    Free top-up learning
    Feedback from the senior managers, CILIP, the UK professional body and training providers has been positive. Once the units were completed, work commenced on the support materials – exemplar assessments and the development of electronic log-books to record assignments for authentication in the workplace. As the training has been completed for some time, the development team moved on to write top-up materials. These will be available from ICT in Libraries. The top-up material includes diagnostic tests and refresher learning. The use of top-up learning should be integrated with initial training or new training and work-based practice, authenticated by a supervisor.

    What happens next?
    As these are work-based qualifications, they require a partnership between the candidate, the trainer (and this could be in-house) and a supervisor to authenticate work-based assignments. There is potential for larger employers to set up their own SQA accredited centre and deliver their own training using in-house expertise. Consortia of smaller authorities could do this effectively. Commercial providers are still offering suitable training, and other providers may emerge now that qualifications are available. Assessment for the qualification is estimated at £100 or less. There is no charge for access to the top-up materials.

    There are a number of benefits for individual and employers in supporting this development. Staff will have the chance to have their Outcomes 2-8, Educator or Net Navigator learning accredited in the same way as ECDL, improve their qualifications or promotion prospects. From the employer’s perspective, the qualifications will contribute towards workforce development and meeting corporate quality agendas such as IIP and Charter Mark. IS

    For more information please contact
    Rhona Arthur Assistant Director, SLIC.

    1 The SCQF is a 12 point scale, with PhD at level 12.
    2 Level 7 is between SVQ 3 and 4 and requires 120 credits, at least 90 must be at level 7 or higher. Level 8 is equivalent to SVQ 4 and requires 240 credits, at least 90 must be at level 8 or higher.

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    Information Scotland Vol. 3 (4) August 2005

    © Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland

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    Last updated:11 October 2005