IT Skills Survey
The New Technologies Interest Group created the IT Skills Survey to gauge the level of computer and online literacy amongst Division 1 staff.
The aim of the survey was to gather general information about the level of comfort of staff in using a variety of commonly used applications within the Library. The survey was anonymous and as such was not able to be used to gather information on individual needs or to provide individual assessments.
Working Group members:
· Edgar Crook
· Kristy Fox
· Martine Guesdon
· Philip Hahn
· Carol Hamilton
· Christine Hickey
· Jong Woo Kim
· Bruce Klopsteins
· Lisa Mackie
· Amelia McKenzie
· Steve Lacey
The Division 1 Survey ran from Dec. 8th 2008 until Jan. 6th 2009. Of a potential 162 possible participants 126 completed some sections of the survey and 112 staff completed every section. Although there was not complete participation by all Division 1 staff the participation rate was high enough to make its findings applicable across the Division.
Overall, staff showed they can confidently use the applications that are required of them in their day to day work.
There were a small number of staff who indicated that they had difficulty in a wide range of applications, but as the survey was not individually identifiable we cannot determine who they are to offer remedial assistance. However to prevent this incidence occurring we would recommend that at least an intermediate level of IT literacy be a part of the skills required for all advertised new positions in the Division.
Within the traditional set of Windows applications (Word, Excel and Exchange) the areas where the respondents were less confident was only in the utilisation of rarely used or seldom required advanced features.
The applications that staff were generally less confident in (Contribute, Wiki, MS Communicator) were those which are used more infrequently, are newer or are perceived as not applicable to their work area.
The applications staff indicated they were less confident with were:
Only those staff who require access to this application have received training, therefore it is not expected that all staff will have or require skills in its usage. Therefore no recommendation has been made for training outside of that normally delivered by IT Services, as required.
However, of respondents that did use the program there were indications that was a lack of proficiency in some of the advanced features, this information will be passed on to IT
Half of the respondents to questions on this subject appear not to have used this application at all. This would indicate that there is a serious lack of awareness of this application. Of those that do use it, the vast majority were not confident in using any of the advanced features. It is recommended that awareness sessions on the benefits of using this technology be made, coupled with some informal at desk training.
Most respondents stated that they were not confident in using any feature of this application (aside from printing a page from it). Given that this is a new technology for most NLA staff and it has been undergoing development it is not surprising that most staff are unsure on its usage. Before any full adoption by staff of this application is made extensive training seems to be required.
The New Technologies Interest Group is also going to investigate the usefulness and applicability of this technology in the near future. Recommendations from this forthcoming investigation should also be taken into account when further training is being developed.
A significant number of staff indicated that TRIM was not applicable to their work. This number was larger than expected as there are numerous instances where all staff should be expected to use TRIM to file select documents and communications. Of staff members who currently use TRIM it appears that many require further help in using the advanced features.
We would advise that supervisors need to instruct their staff in the requirements to TRIM relevant documents and that all staff be offered basic TRIM training, as well as refresher and advanced training where required.
The results of the survey showed that staff are able to identify a range of sources to go to for help when they encounter problems with applications. It was interesting to note that overwhelmingly when they first seek help they go first to their surrounding colleagues. This leads us to believe that instituting a Div. 1 mentoring scheme would be viable, but also that a greater awareness be raised of the online assistance available through IT help pages. There did also seem to be some dissatisfaction with the service offered by the IT help, and an interesting correlation was the surprising number of comments who said that they sought assistance from sources outside of the Library.
The survey indicated that many staff would like to improve their skills in a variety of applications. It would therefore be advised that a series of training courses and awareness sessions be provided, both in-house and if applicable by external contractors.
Before any training is given however it would be advised that those seeking training indicate as clearly as possible in what particular areas they need assistance so that training can be provided on a more needs basis, rather than from a traditional generic training package.
The survey also asked a number of questions relating to general Internet awareness and usage, particularly those applications we now think of as part of Web 2.0.
As the community the Library serves develops its skills, it will continue to require that the Library provide services and responses to requests on the newer platforms that they are using. It is therefore vital that all Library staff, even those not involved in providing direct services to readers/offsite users, have an understanding of how these applications and online communities work.
The Library has been using new technologies throughout its existence and most areas have highly advanced and dynamic means of delivering content and services. Outside of those areas, where the staff are trained and expected to have relevant skills, it is also important that those providing ‘behind the scenes’ services are not left behind.
The survey found that 92.9% of Division 1 staff were comfortable with using the Internet; this is a good result. However, it was offset by the quite high numbers of staff who indicated that they were not confident in using the advanced features of their browsers.
The response rate within the Web 2.0 questions however indicated that many staff are capable and fluent users of current technologies (primarily those not directly work related). It would appear that there is (as in most organisations) a proportion of staff that is very literate, and a similar proportion that are by preference or lack of training uncomfortable with web usage. One aspect of the proposed mentoring scheme (see recommendations) is that those staff whom identify themselves as fluent users can assist their less skilled colleagues, in this way we can hope to bridge the digital divide.
· Select and appoint volunteer guides or mentors who are prepared to offer short at-desk training and guidance to their colleagues on the usage of particular applications within Division 1
· Increase the visibility of the IT created, publicly available “how-to” guides on using and accessing Library and Internet applications
· Organise training through IT on advanced features of applicable applications
· Run awareness sessions on the usage of Microsoft Communicator
· Run awareness sessions on the responsibility to TRIM file select documents in conjunction with training
· Develop a base IT skills set policy for Div 1 staff (this could be the next NTIG project)
· That a requirement for a minimum range of IT skills (the skill set to be determined by the above policy) be made for all applicants to positions within the Division, with the possibility of some testing as part of the interview/recruitment process
· Supervisors to identify those staff with very basic IT skills for training and development
· Give the ability for staff to self-nominate for training where they feel they require it
The Group recognises that implementing the above recommendations will require a commitment from Division 1 staff and management. However, this investment will, we believe bring higher returns in staff productivity, improve the possibilities of staff mobility and allow for greater career development.
The benefits of improving the range of applications that staff are confident in, will also increase the overall level of skills and knowledge throughout the Division, bridging the divide between the highly skilled and those who indicate that they are ‘getting by’.
All documents included in the appendices have been archived on TRIM file no. NLA09/143, NEW TECHNOLOGIES INTEREST GROUP – DIVISION 1 IT SKILLS AUDIT.
Several Microsoft Excel charts were created to display data about survey responses by classification level, major categories surveyed and the help options used by the respondents. A number of these charts have been included in the final report and a full list of the charts created is available in the following document.
Division 1 IT Skill Audit Charts – (R09/6586)
Each major category of the survey concluded with a question about the help options used to solve problems or issues. This question included an “other” response with an option to add additional comments. These further comments and the responses to a general comments question at the end of the survey, are recorded in the following document. All comments have been transcribed as they appear in the survey with no attempt made to correct spelling or grammatical errors.
IT Skills Audit Survey Comments – (R09/6547)
The following list provides links to the overall summary of results from Division 1 and individual summary results for each classification level within the Division. The summary for APS1 staff has not been included as there were no respondents with this classification level.
Division 1 – (R09/6384)
EL2 and higher – (R09/6385)
EL1 – (R09/6386)
APS6 – (R09/6387)
APS5 – (R09/6388)
APS4 – (R09/6389)
APS3 – (R09/6391)
APS2 – (R09/6393)
 The figure of 162 was arrived at by subtracting the number of staff in the Division on LWOP, transfers etc., as advised by Gianoula Burns