Digital Gaming in Library Instruction: Exploring Academic Library Users Perceptions

Michael Robinson

Wanted to find out how students want to learn about the library and the content therein. The study was intended to see if librarians interests and forward thinking is actually in line with what students want.

Pilot study of 42 users in Fall 2006. Asked about two forms of instruction, formal instruction and informal orientation. In addition five technology based delivery methods were asked:

  • Paper
  • 2-d web
  • 3-d graphical interface
  • Audio only
  • Audiovisual presentation

Data Collection was focused on user's perceptions. User's perceptions of services shape their expectation.

Asked two questions on

  • Preference on Info Lit
  • Preference on Orientation of services

Each of the 5 services were paired up to create multiple combinations (x vs. y) the students then answered.


#1: Webpage 72,71

#2: 3-D immersive 68,59

#3: Paper

#4: Audiovisual

#5: Audio only


The pilot study led to more questions:

Why more interest in facility orientation vs. information literacy? Is it about spacial understanding in a virtual world?

This pilot is now being apply to his doctorial dissertation and expanding the survey. Michael's study is also going to be a forthcoming article in Reference & User Services Quarterly in 2009 that will provide a full write up on this study.

The study raises good question about users perceptions of how they want their undergraduate services. The results confirm library's continued adaptations and applications of user interactions in catalogs and online services. With 3-D environments ranking 2nd in both service preferences, it suggests the value of creating and trying new ways to create and teach our students. Unfortunately the results are very limited based on the size of the sample, but the results could help support others looking to try new ways to reach and teach their students.

I'm looking forward to following up with Michael as he works on his dissertation to see how the larger study turns out.