Librarian without Building in an E-Learning Environment: Needed Skills, Challenges, and Solutions

Librarian without Building in an E-Learning Environment: Needed Skills, Challenges, and Solutions

Jerome Idiegbeyan-Ose (Covenant University – Canaan Land, Nigeria) and Ugwunwa Chinyere Esse (Covenant University – Canaan Land, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4876-0.ch003
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Abstract

This chapter discusses e-learning, its advantages and challenges, the concept of a librarian without a building, and the characteristics and skills of a librarian without a building in an e-learning environment. The chapter empirically looks at the need for an e-librarian in an e-learning environment, the needed skills for such a librarian, and their challenges. Possible solutions to identify challenges are also discussed. The survey method was used for the study; the questionnaire was designed and administered to 138 librarians from Academic libraries in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. 127 questionnaires were returned and used for analysis. The study reveals that there is a great need for e-librarians in e-learning environments, and that the librarians must possess such skills as high computer literacy, ability to learn fast, teach, and evaluate others. It was also discovered that e-librarians are faced with technical, administrative, financial, and capacity building challenges. Based on these, the authors recommend that e-librarians should be supported at all levels; they should be ready to develop themselves, strive at all cost to acquire more knowledge and skills in order to stand the changing nature of their job. It is also recommended that government agencies that accredit programmes at tertiary institutions should make sure that any institution that offers e-learning must also have a well organized e-library, and a well trained e-librarian must man the library. The study concludes that e-library and e-librarian without building must be recognized and empowered as part of the e-teaching and learning processes.
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Objectives Of The Study

The objectives of the study are to find out:

  • 1.

    Whether there is need for E- Librarian in an E- Learning environment.

  • 2.

    The skills that would be needed by librarian in an E- Learning environment.

  • 3.

    The challenges of E-librarian in an E- Learning environment.

  • 4.

    Prefer solution to the challenges.

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Background

Over the years, there have been conflicts in the definitions of E-Learning; some authors have explicitly defined e-learning, others have implied a specific definition, but these definitions have materialize, some through conflicting views of other definitions, and some just by simply comparing defining characteristics with other existing terms. Ellis (2004) disagrees with authors like Nichols (2003) who defined e-Learning as strictly gaining access to knowledge using technological tools that are web-based, web-distributed, or web-capable. Ellis believes that e-Learning does not only cover content and instructional methods delivered via CD-ROM, the Internet or an Intranet. Tavangarian, D., Leypold, M. E., Nolting, K., Roser, M., & Voigt, D. (2004), stated that e- Learning is not only procedural but also shows some transformation of an individual's experience into the individual's knowledge through the knowledge construction process. Ellis (2004) and Triacca, L., Bolchini, D., Botturi, L., & Inversini, A. (2004) believe that some level of interactivity needs to be included to make the definition truly applicable in describing the learning experience, even though Triacca et al. (2004) added that e- Learning was a type of online learning. However, some authors have made reference to other terms such as online course/learning, web-based learning, web-based training, learning objects or distance learning believing that the terms can be used synonymously (Dringus & Cohen, 2005; Khan, 2001; Triacca et al., 2004; Wagner, 2001). Clark & Mayer, (2003), states that E-learning can be defined as instruction delivered via a computer that is intended to promote learning.

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