Katie Fraser’ Learning Lunch discussion:

While studying at the LSRI, I undertook a PhD using an ecological approach to studying children’s homework, looking at use of traditional and emerging learning technologies in a social space. However, as I studied I became increasingly aware of how I used technologies in my own study and learning as a researcher. Alongside that I started working part-time in one of Nottingham’s libraries, and realised that I wanted to become a librarian. Since I graduated in 2009, I have been working and studying in the library field.

On my return to Nottingham, as Senior Faculty Librarian for Science and Engineering, I was keen to revisit the LSRI and talk about some of the practitioner research I’ve been involved with since I started my career in libraries. This has covered a host of topics ranging from learning spaces – conducting evaluations and carrying out situated interviews with students – to web design – analysing user behaviour to inform the design of a new library website – to PhD researcher journeys – informing communication with the researchers and the development of new library and learning developing sessions to support them. All of these activities have drawn upon the theory, methods and analytical approaches I developed during my PhD; where else are traditional and emerging learning technologies combined in a social space, if not the library?

There’s a passionate, if modestly sized, research community in library and information science, and I was lucky to be involved in the DREaM project http://lisresearch.org/dream-project/, which looked at developing understanding of research methods across researcher and practitioner communities. However, there’s also extensive demand in the sector for skills in designing educational interventions, implementing new technologies, developing learning spaces, and evaluating all of the above. Those with a background in learning sciences are well equipped with all of these, and I think there are promising opportunities for learning scientists to work with and for libraries in the future.

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