Teaching is a Leadership Skill

Great librarians, DAM managers included, are great teachers. We show patrons how to find the material they need to complete their projects. We openly share our search strategies and explain the concepts on which they are based. If you haven’t yet heard of Bate’s berrypicking model or Kulthau’s Information Search Process (ISP), we are happy to talk to you about them and to discuss how they are important to information (and asset) retrieval. Ultimately, we want to empower users and the organizations they work for so they may be self-sufficient. Teaching is a means to this end.

Why we teach

Knowledge sharing contributes to the betterment of the individual user and improves the chances of a DAM team’s success. Besides being an important method to communicate information, teaching helps us be more transparent. If a user knows how to adjust the DAM app preferences themselves, they won’t need to wait around for us to show them. Demonstrating the steps to customize a metadata field could offer glimpse into the level of effort required to restructure a DAM system’s metadata model.

What we teach

We are happy to offer you training and education on a range of topics besides the use of the DAM system. For example, information professionals can discuss practical steps and answers to help deal with copyright issues or questions. Knowing best practices relating to information governance is in our wheelhouse: just ask us for the best way to name, organize and archive files and folders. If there are questions about standard operating procedures, we can answer them. Searching for controlled terms to tag your content? Look no further.

Advantages to Teaching

Some of the benefits to teaching patrons include helping them to realize how important finding digital content is to their work, increasing the value of the DAM system to the company, enabling patrons to be independent asset consumers, and to professionalize digital asset management.

Research to help us

There are several prominent teaching theories that may be applied during these exchanges. Cognitive constructivism stresses that knowledge is not passed down from teacher to student but is constructed by the learner. By demonstrating the process of digital asset searching and gathering to information users we offer them a model that can be built upon.

We employ active learning techniques to instruct users. These modes include the flipped classroom, where the student becomes the teacher by leading a presentation on a topic.

Some examples

I frequently ask DAM system users to show me how they use the DAM system to retrieve assets. It is a great way to see how the system is actually being used. Another way to engage patrons during a training session is to invite them to help build the agenda. At a recent Meetup, participants wrote topics on post-its. The entire group then voted for the topics they wished to talk about. The most popular formed the core agenda of the meeting.

Conclusion

Instruction is and will continue to be a crucial component of any digital asset manager’s job. Furthermore teaching is an important leadership skill. Behind every great leader – colleagues and executives alike – is the desire to share what they know.

How do you teach your DAM users?

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