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Creating LibGuides to Support Online Instructors: Reducing Cognitive Load for the Online Instructor

Kelly Diamond (West Virginia University, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 1:45pm
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Theory/Conceptual Framework
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Discovery Session
Atlantic Hall
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Discovery Session 1

This discovery session will focus on using LibGuides for instructional support as well as designing support Guides using cognitive load theory.

Extended Abstract

West Virginia University Libraries offers a one-credit course, ULIB 101: Introduction to Library Research, both in person and online. Librarians who teach this class in a traditional classroom have developed an informal support system based on office proximity and the course held during the business day. However, librarians who teach online are located across three campus libraries and often access the course after traditional office hours. Due to the asynchronous nature of online instruction, teaching librarians have questions or need technical help at any time, not just during the day. In response to this need, and as the course designer, I developed the ULIB 101 Online Instructor Guide, an electronic instructional support document created in the LibGuides web platform. The ULIB 101 Online Instructor Guide is always available with instructional support plus multimedia instruction for performing technical instructional tasks inside the Blackboard environment, as well as means to contact the courser designer.

Jennifer J. Little's 2010 article "Cognitive Load Theory and Library Research Guides" served as the theoretical base upon which I made my design practice decisions. Her article discusses how librarians can design Research Guides (or LibGuides) to reduce intrinsic and extraneous cognitive load while increasing germane cognitive load. While the focus of Little's article is on designing LibGuides for students' research and learning needs, her recommendations were helpful in the design of the ULIB 101 Online Instructor Guide. The ULIB 101 Online Instructor Guide is designed using recommendations in Little's article, particularly her findings on the differences between how librarians and students interact with navigational cues and how to reduce extraneous cognitive load for any user of a LibGuide.

In this discovery session, I will discuss and demonstrate how the structure and organization of the ULIB 101 Online Instructor Guide reduces intrinsic and extraneous cognitive load for the user. I will also show how free multimedia software can be used to create and then embed brief tutorials to enhance the instructor's germane cognitive load as s/he performs technical tasks within Blackboard. I will also discuss the advantages of using LibGuides as means of instructional support: its low-cost subscription rate; its ease of use for novice designers; and its built-in functionality that can be used to assess a Guide's effectiveness.

Participants in this discovery session will learn how to:
- Design LibGuides for instructional support that reduce intrinsic and extraneous cognitive load and increase the germane cognitive load for online instructors.
- Use free multimedia creators as a means of just-in-time training for online instructors
- Use functionality within the LibGuides platform to assess use of an Online Instructor LibGuide