The San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) has begun to actively design and create online tutorials for patrons. In summer 2010, as part of a grant project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, SFPL developed a tutorial for patrons to help familiarize them with online job search sites. As part of that project, some best practices and suggestions for doing similar work at other libraries was collected and is available for review.
1) Tutorial Creation Steps: the basic steps and information gathering needs required for creating online tutorials in Camtasia
2) Proposing and Drafting a Script: includes example documentation of the process that is used at SFPL for the initial proposal phase of creating a tutorial
3) Camtasia Step-by-Step: instructions for how SFPL recommends tutorials be created for use on their website.
4) Tutorial survey results: high level overview of the results of the survey that users who viewed the tutorial were asked to complete.
These documents can provide helpful framework for libraries looking to introduce online tutorials to their offerings. The files are included as Word documents and they may be edited and adjusted to suit individual needs.
Richard Le, San Francisco Public Library
The San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) created a tutorial on job searching to help patrons learn about online resources that could help familiarize them to new websites and to highlight SFPL resources. The following summary outlines the high-level process for creating tutorials to provide other libraries with a means to better understand the process. Staff used Camtasia software to create the tutorial and it is now posted and available on the SFPL website.
Producing quality training tutorial requires institution investment and resources. The overall process was comprised of four phases: needs assessment, planning, production and launch. Careful planning, implementation, and team work are critical in the overall process, from drafting a proposal, to scripting, recording and hosting the tutorial online.
The first step was to conduct the patron needs assessment which looked at patron interest in tutorials and specific topics. This survey was available to patrons in all branches, and results were collected via SurveyMonkey. Once the results for the survey were collected and analyzed, the topic of job searching was selected based on patron interest as well as the ability of the topic to complement existing library resources.
Needs Assessment: Report on Findings (pdf)
The planning phase allowed the tutorial creators to map out the objectives of the tutorial, the content that should be included, the format that should be used and the resources required to create the tutorial. The tutorial was first created in a storyboard format to help outline the content and flow of the material. Once the review of the content was completed in English, the content had to be translated into Spanish and Chinese. Staff members were identified to record the audio portions of the tutorial in all three languages.
Once the planning phase was complete, staff moved onto the production phase. This included everything from recording the visual elements in Camtasia, to recording the narration for all three versions of the tutorial. The production phase can be the one with the highest learning curve, especially if the software is new to the users. Following the recordings, the tutorial needed to be edited and prepared for posting to the website.
Once production was complete, the tutorial was posted on the SFPL website and was promoted to users via the library website, facebook, Twitter and by staff. Patrons who completed the tutorial were encouraged to complete a short evaluation on their experience with the new resource. The results were overwhelmingly positive with 90% of respondents stating that they learned about new resources and 73% stating that they were likely to use the resources in the future. The tutorial can now be viewed on the
San Francisco Public Library website.
The initial staff investment to develop the tutorial was high, because of the steep learning curve involved with developing the content and completing the instructional design necessary to produce the course. It would be fair to estimate that it would take an average of 40 hours to produce a 5-minute tutorial once the process was familiar to the staff. This includes time to review and select content, record and edit the tutorial and then post and do initial publicity. The advantage is that the resource - once it is published online - can be accessed by countless patrons and also be available at times when reference staff are too busy or when the library is closed. Selecting topics that not only are helpful from a general perspective, but that also help to augment resources and collections in the library, is very critical piece of making the tutorials relevant.
Savings can definitely be realized (or marginalized) as staff become familiarized with the production process, and the returns would be great and very cost effective in the long run. Challenges can include limited resources (e.g., staffing, technical expertise, computers and recording equipment), costs of software licensing, and patron computer proficiency. Most of the anecdotal responses from staff and patrons in this pilot project were positive, with few suggestions for future topics, format, and access & delivery methods. For future replications, use the best practices in the following section.