I-Guides: Byte-sized Pockets of Information
Type of snapshot
Central services provision e.g. library, learning development, e-learning, ICT
What was the context for this snapshot?
We are the learning support team for the faculty of humanities and social sciences. We provide guidance and support in study skills literacies. This is a snapshot of our virtual resources that we have created to support learner literacies in academic skills.
One of our current developments is a project called ‘i-guides: byte-sized pockets of information’. These are a new series of study skills resources and are a spin off from our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), K:LEarn.
What kind of learners were involved in accessing this provision or support?
The i-guides are resources for all faculty students from all years. The intention behind both the K:LEarn and the i-guides is to make the learner support provision within the faculty as accessible as possible by having a ‘virtual wing’ to our services. Our i-guides have been developed to provide easily digestible information on study skills. We hope that their original format and ‘quick access’ nature puts a new spin on resources that deal with academic literacies. As such, they are intended to be visually stimulating, informal and memorable with an ability to engage learners from across the faculty.
What skills or literacies were particularly being addressed?
The i-guides focus on study skills and provide some basic academic guidance in the form of myth busting and frequently asked questions.
The K:LEarn is host to these but also provides a wider context for the development of study skills. The site is internal so we don’t have an URL but we hope that these screen shots will provide a clearer idea of scale and facilities:
Who provided the support? How was support provided?
The i-guides have been written by the learning support team for the faculty of humanities and social sciences. We took existing resources and adapted our materials before using software called Impatica to compact them. We found this process resulted in a ‘booklet’ feel and created new resources that were more dynamic than a handout and more complete as a standalone device than a traditional set of slides. The resulting ‘booklet’ feel meant that the content became naturally ‘chatty’ and informal. This level of learner engagement seemed appropriate for a resource that is accessed by students on a self-selecting basis. We advertise our provision and projects but take up is entirely learner-led.
As students need to subscribe to the K:LEarn to access it, we have found that complementary social media tools like our blog and i-guides (that have completely open access), adds a little extra accessibility. This merge with web 2.0 tools also seems to be in keeping with the wider use of new technologies and so serves as a natural progression of the virtual work we do. Our blog provides an ongoing record of our work for the interest of colleagues and learners alike. The i-Guides are also supported by an external platform and this project is another good example of when you might need that extra flexibility.
Benefits, outcomes, and lessons learned
Early indications tell us that our i-guides are an effective way of turning older, outdated slides into a new engaging multimedia format and a novel way of transmitting a type of data that is sometimes difficult to animate.