The LIHNN Introduction to Literature Searching MOOC took place in the autumn of 2015. You can read about the development of the course and the initial evaluation in the report which was published in January 2016.
In January of this year the MOOC developers contacted the individuals who had completed the initial evaluation survey and asked them a small number of further questions to try and establish if the MOOC had achieved any long term impact.
Who responded to this survey?
There were 77 respondents to the new survey. Of these most work in either the NHS (41) or the academic sector (22). Almost all of the respondents are based in England (62). These demographics are reflective of those reported in the original evaluation.
Was there increased confidence in literature searching?
The main purpose of putting the course together had been to increase participants’ confidence in undertaking a literature search. In the follow up survey we asked the question “Do you feel more confident in undertaking literatures searches as a result of participating in the MOOC?” The overwhelming answer to this was Yes (73)!
Had people used the MOOC since the course ended?
We were interested to know if people had revisited the MOOC modules since the course ended. Originally we had intended to close the MOOC down in January 2016 but participants requested that we left it open so we did. The majority of respondents to this survey (45) told us that they had revised the MOOC since completing the course.
As a follow up question we asked respondents what part of the MOOC they revisited and why. The responses to this were wide ranging and included.
“All of weeks 5 & 6. As an experienced lit searcher the earlier weeks were just confirmation of my knowledge and technique, but these last couple were the real “gold” as far as I was concerned, and we have drawn on these extensively to review and improve our literature searching service.”
“The synthesis section to look at using a synthesis matrix in our evidence summaries I’ve been through most of the MOOC again and incorporated some useful information into my information skills training sessions”
“I re-visited the part that explained about exploding, major, selecting thesaurus terms. Found the MOOC had a concise way of explaining this which I used with my own training delegates.”
The most mentioned topics were those on search strategies, search techniques and summarizing. However a wide range of topics were mentioned in response to this question which demonstrates the overall value of all the six modules which went to make up the MOOC.
Had doing the MOOC resulted in participants doing something different or new in their workplace?
Of the respondents who answered this question (45) all but one reported doing something different or new.
“I used the MOOC at the time to help build skills and confidence in our enquiry team. I know some of them still refer to it!”
“I was a library assistant when I did the MOOC with little experience of searching. I interviewed for my first professional post and was asked about searching. I talked about what I had learned through the MOOC. I wouldn’t have been able to answer this question as thoroughly had it not been for the MOOC. I got the job and now use the skills I learned regularly and still refer back to the materials. The MOOC was a great introduction to searching for me as it started at the very beginning and went right through to more complex things like appraisal and synthesis.”
“In 2016 we undertook a complete evaluation of our literature search service to members and staff, this year we will be implementing our recommendations and I hope to use some of the materials from MOOC especially those on presenting search findings”
“It definitely helped me have more confidence in my literature searching. It helped me to be more approach evidence summary in a more structured way.”
“It has changed the way I think about and show students how to search health databases. This MOOC filled in the gaps in my knowledge and I was able to use this knowledge to get a promotion from working on the library front desk to now teaching literature searching to students and researchers.”
“We drew up a literature searching protocol to ensure a consistent approach across the team. We have redesigned our bib.list results template and adopted the 6S hierarchy to present results. We also reviewed the way we gather impact data. It gave me the spur to discuss peer review of search strategies with my colleagues, and we will be taking this forward. We will be continued to use the synthesising and summarising sections very heavily when preparing to offer this type of service in the next few months.”
The findings from the original evaluation plus the information obtained from the follow up survey point to this method of delivering training as one which can reach a large number of participants in a cost effective way and which has an impact on individuals and their services. The final question in the follow up survey asked respondents if they would be interested in undertaking another MOOC and asked for suggestions for topics. A majority (45) said they would like to undertake another MOOC and a number of topics were proposed including critical appraisal and summarising and synthesising search results.
As a result of the success of the MOOC HCLU has funded a project to turn the six existing modules, which made up the literature searching course, into 6 standalone e-learning modules. It is hoped that these will be ready for use in summer 2017. A proposal has also gone to HCLU to develop a Critical Appraisal MOOC. This is currently under consideration until budgets are confirmed for 2017-18.
NHS LKS Workforce Development Manager North
NHS Health Care Libraries Unit – North
Tel: 01942 482 584 OR Mobile: 0779 531 0852