UoL Library Blog

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Visualising Information Literacy

Posted by sarahw9 on 23 October, 2009

Getting across to students what information resources they need to use and when

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to use them can seem a thankless task.  Its often pretty dry material and training sessions aren’t usually scheduled to link in with the point at which students immediately need to use the resources.  Medical librarians at the Clinical Sciences Library are in the halfway through running some sessions this year which we hope begin to address this problem. 

We have been experimenting with a new approach to our library training with our first year medics giving them a mindmap of information resources they need for their course.  The School of Medicine invited us to get involved in their new ‘clinical problem solving’ module, which aims to get new students making connections between their modules and understanding deeper processes rather than trying to get by learning by rote.  The students have to solve problems by making these connections and they are expected to be able to do their own research to before they can work out the answers. Google and Wikipedia alone won’t do this for them. This is where our information literacy training fit in. 

Previously we have dived straight into Medline to get them conversant with the research literature and how to find it.  This time we created a map of information resources.  The map links directly out to the resources and is organised to help the students see which places to go for either an overview of a topic or for more detailed information.  The resources range from dictionaries and clinical guidelines to statistics and bibliographic databases.  It is hoped that the students can return to this map to help them clarify where to look for information at any time within their course. 

In our training session the students are introduced to the resources on the map by integrating voting questions using Turning Point to ensure they understand them.  Later in the session they are given the task to find the answer to a clinical question using two contrasting resources, explaining where they found the information to support their answer and also how they found it. 

Its early days and when we have finished our sessions we will compile our feedback from the students and the course tutors.  We are hopeful that the map has the potential to be developed into a more ambitious elearning tool useful for many different contexts.

4 Responses to “Visualising Information Literacy”

  1. Anne Marie said

    Is there a link to the mindmap?
    Anne Marie

  2. Natalie said

    Thanks for sharing the link to the mindmap. Will be interested to see what feedback you get from the students and course tutors, looking forward to hearing more about how this develops.

  3. Thanks for sharing this Sarah, I think this sort of insight into the student psyche is really useful in terms of developing training that is responsive to their real needs. We (or rather you information librarians – since I’m no longer wearing that hat!) need to do more of this sort of thing. Only problem being for most of us, we only see the students in brief bursts or single sessions – rather over a module.

    But a good example and I hope you’ll be expanding on this at the next Information Librarians team meeting! This is an experience worth sharing.

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