Month: April 2018

Assessing Adult Digital Problem Solving: Two Tools for Libraries

One of the outcomes of the Digital Equity in Libraries research project was a set of two tools that can be used by libraries, staff, and volunteers to gain a sense of what knowledge, skills, and experiences adults bring to digital problem solving within a library setting.  These tools are based on our findings and are intended to be used in face-to face individual meetings such as a reference interview with a library patron or in small groups.

The tasks and metacognitive scaffolding prompts and protocol within the Blueprint for Designing Digital Problem Solving Tasks tool were developed and refined with the
Multnomah County Library’s website resources in mind. We encourage other libraries to
adapt the tasks and observational protocol, or to develop a new and different observational protocol inspired by the design principles offered.

The Observing Digital Problem Solving Checklist was based on our findings. Like the Blueprint, librarians should make adaptations to fit the library within which the tool will be used.

If you adapt and use either tool, please let us know what you did and how it’s working for you!

Defining Digital Problem Solving

As we moved through the data analysis phase of the Digital Equity in Libraries study, we found that what we were seeing and coming to understand differed from that which was described by concepts such as problem solving in technology-rich environments, digital literacy, information literacy, or the new literacies of reading and writing.  In our brief entitled Defining Digital Problem Solving, we explore what it means to be literate in the digital age, compare the PSTRE to our definition of digital problem solving, and explain how we came to our definition of digital problem solving.  We end by raising three questions that emerged as a result of our new understanding of what constitutes digital problem solving.

We invite you to let us know your thoughts after you read the document.  How do you see the concept of digital problem solving as informing the way you work with adult learners?  What additional questions need to be asked?  What might we be missing?