Volume 28, Number 1, Spring 2006


ALA Announces E-Learning with Courses from Element K

by Jeannette Smithee, Southeast Florida Library Information Network

Launched in January 2006, ALA e-Learning Service, offers ALA members the opportunity to purchase discounted e-learning courses for themselves or for their library staff’s learning needs. The new service is the result of a partnership between ALA, ASCLA, and Southeast Florida Library Information Network (SEFLIN). The vendor partner is Element K, a leader in online course development since 1982.

Through these partnerships, Element K offers discounted prices for ALA members. Individual ALA members can purchase a single access key subscription for the courses they need. All ALA members, including ALA institution members, may also purchase multiple ALA e-Learning Element K access keys for library employees. The library receives the ALA discounted price when purchasing one or many access keys. Each employee who uses the access key to set up a student account has a full year of unlimited access to all of the courses and lessons in the learning library purchased. Each learner will receive certificates from Element K for completed courses and will have an online transcript of the courses taken and completed.

For orders of fifty or more access keys, there is also a group purchase option, which gives more management options to libraries, library systems, and library organizations for supporting a larger program of employee e-learning. It can also support efforts to ensure similar levels of competency in the use of software or assist in the transition to new software programs. To learn more, use the “Contact Us” option at the ALA E-Learning page to request a call to discuss your library’s needs.

ALA e-Learning Services includes online courses from Element K in three learning libraries: Office Productivity, Computer Professional, and Business Fundamentals. The full catalog of these courses are found at Element K.

Staff who use computers in their jobs can benefit from the Office Productivity learning library, including courses on Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, FrontPage, Acrobat, Filemaker Pro, GroupWise, Microsoft Project, and WordPerfect.

The Computer Professional collection is especially useful for support and training of staff with Web and networking responsibilities in libraries that do not have backup from larger information technology departments. The Computer Professional learning library includes technology courses including Microsoft certification courses, Linux, Java, SQL, Dreamweaver, Flash and Photoshop.

The Business Fundamentals courses can be valuable for supervisors and managers. This learning library includes courses on topics such as motivating employees, conducting performance reviews, conflict intervention, and leading effective meetings.

Visit the Element K Demo Center to sample the self-paced learning courses from several learning libraries. The sample lessons and topics show typical lesson format and navigation, including instruction, labs, and quizzes.

The e-learning courses include reviews and quizzes that help reinforce the material. All of this learning can be done at the convenience of the student, not at a preset time and place. Courses can be completed without ever leaving the library.

Based on the experience of libraries using Element K, learners and their employers appreciate the convenience and flexibility of e-learning. In a 2005 survey conducted by the SEFLIN, students reported that e-learning is put to practical use in the library. Results indicated that 75 percent of the learners had a course or subject in mind when registering for Element K e-learning. In the same survey over 75 percent agreed with the statement that “I enhanced knowledge or skills through Element K e-learning that helped improve the services at my library.” Examples cited in the survey included:

  • “The more I have learned to do on the computer, the more I’ve been able to teach our customers.”
  • “I am now better able to assist with computer classes.”
  • ”I feel I have enhanced my customer service skills.”
  • “I’m still trying to be a better manager, every little bit helps!”
See the full survey online. Results such as this indicate that e-learning is a valuable complement to other classes, conferences and staff development learning opportunities.