Improving library tutorials by “making it their idea”


In The Library with the Lead Pipe has come up trumps again with another great post – Making it their idea: The Learning Cycle in library instruction. Working from the idea that:

very few advertisements tell people explicitly to do anything. They present information that leads customers to come up with the idea of buying their product on their own

… the author draws a parallel to this with using active learning and critical thinking to teach students library and research skills.

Key to this utilisation of The Learning Cycle*:

The learning cycle instructional method – giving students a new situation, asking them to make sense of it, and serving merely as a guide in their process – models the way people learn, and as a result, generates authentic, meaningful learning experiences for students. Compared to lecturers or demonstrations where students are told what the answers are and then perform exercises that verify that what they are told is correct, they are making the new knowledge out of their own ideas.

Not surprisingly this approach can be more time-consuming. One of the solutions is an idea proposed by Donald (2010)** that involves:

offloading most of the technical details to online tutorials and leaning models

Given we have now developed a range of online tutorials here at Massey, this could well be one way of utilising them and incorporating them as an extension of our library classes. 

*Cavallo, A.M.L. (2008). Experiencing the nature of science: An interactive, begining-of-semester activity. Journal of College Science Teaching, 37(5), 12-15.
**Donald, J. (2010). Using technology to support faculty and enhance coursework at academic institutions. Texas Library Journal, 85(4), 129-131 http://www.txla.org/ce/Collaboration/Donald.pdf

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