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Exploring the benefits of user education: a review of three case studies

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This paper builds on Leslie Morton's vision of enabling users through education and training. It describes three different approaches to mediated training for medical students and clinicians provided by peers, juniors (i.e. medical students) and information specialists (i.e. clinical librarians) and considers the benefits to the participants. The training was provided either on a one-to-one basis or within teams in their work environments (e.g. offices, wards, team meetings). The first two projects (peer tutoring and reverse mentoring) suggest that contextualized training, using intermediaries, provides the direct benefit of cost-effective IT skill development and the indirect benefits deriving from the interactions between the trainers and the target groups. The third project, the outreach librarian study, provides evidence of both direct benefits (i.e. time saved, quality of service, skills acquired, financial savings and improved evidence-based medicine implementation) and indirect, long-term benefits relating to more social issues (e.g. perceptions of the library, clinical teams, job satisfaction and patient interactions). The general conclusion to emerge from this review of case studies is that the concept of educational benefits is very broad and that empirical studies need to look at both obvious and less obvious benefits.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University College London Interaction Centre, UCL, London, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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