A Contextual Model for Planning Continuing Education Programmes for University Library Practitioners in Vietnam
Continuing education (CE) for library and information management (LIM) practitioners is an ongoing issue in the profession. In particular, due to the current significant changes in library and information services in the Vietnamese context, especially in university libraries, CE is a priority for enhancing the ability of practitioners and upgrading the capability of libraries to meet the demands of higher education as well as to meet the demands of socio-economic development of the country. The purpose of this study is to provide a contextual model for CE that will assist providers and university libraries in designing and implementing more effective learning programmes for the practitioners. The study focuses on determining the factors affecting CE, and on identifying and prioritising key learning needs among university library practitioners in Vietnam. The study employed a preliminary model for CE based on the literature and developed specifically for the Vietnamese context as a framework to gather data. Ten individual interviews with university library managers, and 17 focus group interviews with operational staff were conducted. In addition, related documentary evidence from participating university libraries, relevant ministries and the central government were gathered and examined. Based on the obtained data the model was assessed and revised, and the learning needs for Vietnamese university library practitioners were identified and prioritised. The study found five main factors significantly affect CE: social factors, professional factors, organisational factors, individual factors, and the nexus between the individual practitioner's and his or her organisation's needs. These factors also particularly affect triage, the process of identifying and prioritising learning needs for university library practitioners. In regard to learning needs, in this study specific areas of professional knowledge and skills are identified as the first priority and generic skills as the second priority for library operational staff while management knowledge and skills are identified as the first priority and professional knowledge and skills as the second priority for library managers. These findings are useful for (1) government and professional organisations, university libraries and library managers in establishing relevant policies and activities to facilitate the CE of library practitioners, (2) CE providers in designing and implementing effective CE programmes, (3) practitioners in enhancing their learning pursuits.