RLI 284 Library Space Assessment: Focusing on Learning 18 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC 2013 28 investigate what key national issues are of primary importance in their institution and should discuss whether it is possible to address those concerns through a particular approach to assessment. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Libraries are taking this approach in their work as part of the ARL LibValue project, and part of their effort focuses on the role of their Commons in student learning.15 Partnering with campus units who may be involved in overall assessment work for teaching and learning may help libraries identify those key campus concerns and yield opportunities to share in the development of assessment instruments. Conclusion As libraries continue to focus resources on the design and operation of new learning spaces, the need for assessment data drawing lines between student learning and library facilities is gaining importance. A library assessment plan for a new learning space should be holistic, with user-needs assessment undertaken at the outset and post-occupancy research that moves beyond user satisfaction to examine more closely the impact on learning and teaching. It is not easy to make these connections between student learning and library spaces, but it is critical that we explore research questions that examine intersections. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of published and shared research in this area. It is important to explore these connections, however, as they can promote the value of the library to the teaching and learning program of the institution and, collectively, throughout higher education. Such research efforts would help libraries better understand and articulate the “learning” in our “learning spaces.” More published and shared examples would benefit libraries as a whole. Additionally, aligning space assessment with national and campus trends related to assessment—such as learning analytics, student effort, and student engagement—would increase awareness of the impact of library spaces. Although libraries are making forays into these assessment areas, more space-focused examples are needed for a deeper understanding of the inherent value of library learning spaces. Resources for Learning-focused Assessment in Higher Education National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) http://www.learningoutcomeassessment.org/ This resource was developed to “discover and disseminate ways that academic programs and institutions can productively use assessment data internally to inform and strengthen undergraduate education, and externally to communicate with policy makers, families, and other stakeholders.” Stan Ikenberry and George Kuh, two eminent higher education scholars, are co-principal investigators for this program.
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