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National Training Office December 13th, 2019
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What are the educational needs of NNLM users? Results of our national training needs assessment

Posted in: News

Image: dot plot art

Image: dot plot art

Back in December 2016 we conducted a training needs assessment. You may remember it making the rounds on one of our regional email lists, or for it’s length (50+ questions) and attention to detail (covered 15+ professional competencies and 100+ NLM products). We are pleased to announce the results of our needs assessment.  Read the full report, highlights below.

PS: the NEO (National Evaluation Office) did a great post on how to create Dot Plots, a method for visualizing data which we used in our analysis.

Why did we conduct a needs assessment?

We wanted to discover needs, explore preferences and gather feedback from our community.

What questions did we ask?

We had 3 broad questions – why do users take NNLM classes, how do our users prefer to learn, and what are our users training needs. We also wanted to know what skill levels our users considered themselves at now, and where they wanted to be.

Who responded?

TNA result by region

TNA results by region

559 people responded. The largest represented NNLM regions were Midcontinental Middle Atlantic, Greater Midwest & Pacific Southwest.

In terms of type of work environment, 33% identified as academic health science libraries,  32% were hospital libraries, and 35% were everything else: public/higher education libraries,  K-12 education, corporate/industry, public health, consulting, and nonprofits.

Why do users take our classes?

User motivations for taking classes

User motivations for taking classes

People take NNLM Classes to improve and to learn. Less important motivations are for a job requirement, for AHIP credit, or to network.

How do users prefer to learn?

How do users prefer to learn?

How do users prefer to learn?

Our users like live online webinars and face to face classes the best. They also enjoy short videos and self-paced online classes.

How do users experience NNLM online training?

how do our users experience our online training

How do our users experience NNLM  online training

Most everyone is using a computer, 77% can play sound, but only half can speak aloud during a class without disturbing someone else. 21% use a tablet or phone.

Where do our learners want to be experts?

Desired expertise - skills

Desired expertise – skills

For professional skills, users desire expertise in instruction, literature searching, EBM & open science.

desired expertise for NLM products

Desired expertise – NLM products

For NLM products, users desire expertise in  level skill  in clinical information resources (e.g.: PubMed Health, PubMed Clinical Queries, Practice Guidelines), full text access (e.g.: DOCLINE/InterLibrary Loan, LinkOut, PubMed Central, Bookshelf) and PubMed.

Where do our learners consider themselves novices?

Novice level skills and products

Novice level skills and products

Users consider themselves novices at bioinformatics, NLM Data extraction tools (e.g.: eUtilities, MedlinePlus Connect) and vocabulary & ontologies for use in medical information systems (e.g.: UMLS & source vocabularies).

Top 6 areas for training

Top Training Needs – Skills - Using the basic functions of bioinformatics tools 5. Creating videos and web tutorials 4. Evaluating outreach 3. Understanding and searching for evidence-based research 2. Developing and teaching classes 1. Understanding open science

Top Training Needs – Skills

6. Clinical Information Resources PM Health, Clinical Queries, Practice Guidelines 5. Full text Access DOCLINE/ILL, LinkOut, PMC, Bookshelf 4. Drug and medical device information resources DailyMed, LactMed, Pillbox, AccessGUDID 3. Tools for extracting NLM data eUtilities, MedlinePlus Connect 2. Vocabulary & ontologies for use in medical information systems UMLS & source vocabularies 1. PubMed Maintain instructional excellence throughout the skill spectrum

Top Training Needs – NLM Products


Our 2016 NNLM Training Needs Assessment revealed top training needs which we will use to guide future class offerings. Our full report offers insight to how that can happen.

To everyone who provided feedback on the needs assessment, thank you.

For questions or comments email us at nto@utah.edu.

Developed resources reported in this site are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012344 with the University of Utah Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.

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