For the past 6 years or so I’ve been working toward completing a Master of Education degree, specialising in eLearning with Massey University. Over the course of my study I have had the opportunity to focus in on areas of my individual interest and as someone who doesn’t have a “classroom” as such to apply my learning to I have been able to range fairly broadly across all sorts of areas related to ‘LibraryLand’, things like MOOCs, adult learning, instructional design, gamification and of course information literacy (IL) and how we might better use eLearning and educational theory to help our students develop IL skills as part of their tertiary education.
I completed my study (phew!) last year with a Professional Inquiry research project that looked at the current approaches to integrating the Library (both services and resources) into the learning management system (LMS), and whether academic librarians considered any approaches more effective than others. Following a critical review of the literature and a survey of academic librarians internationally the findings were interesting in a number of ways.
Firstly, it appears that the most commonly used approaches to integrating the library with the LMS are those that have a fairly ‘light touch’ approach. By that I mean that librarians are using approaches that require a less collaborative partnership with academic teaching staff more often than a more fully integrated approach might use. Secondly, we also tend to think those approaches are more effective for the learner – but (and thirdly) when asked about how we actually measure effectiveness of learning outcomes for IL, we aren’t really doing that in a systematic way.
While this was a relatively small scale study and results, therefore, need to be treated with a little caution before generalising, this has thrown up some more areas of research and discussion. Are academic librarians the best measure of effectiveness? Well, not really…we really need to ask this of both learners and faculty to gain the full picture. How do we actually measure effectiveness of IL teaching? Are we doing what is easily achievable in terms of integrating IL into the online learning environment at the cost of what is possible with a more collaborative fully integrated partnership model?
Our current study will add valuable information and knowledge to this landscape and I am looking forward to seeing how the secondary and tertiary sectors can come together in this space.