Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Learning from the learners: the student voice in information literacy #lilac13

My first session at the final day of the LILAC conference #lilac13 Learning from the learners: the student voice in information literacy from Antony Osborne (Huddersfield). He started by identifying reasons for listening students: for example, they are paying to learn, you are (hopefully!) contributing to their experience of learning, and it can also help you improve the effectiveness of your information literacy teaching. His talk was drawing on his doctoral thesis on The Value of Information Literacy: Conceptions of BSc Nursing Students at a UK University (which I've blogged before, I think it is very interesting).
He started by talking about the danger of making assumptions about students e.g. that young people were all good with technology. Looking specifically at assumptions that people might make about student nurses, he identified that his participants didn't necessarily see "research" as relevant to them (preferring the practical side), that they found the librarians and librarians a bit scary (as they were worried about looking students etc.), that Il labs were going "ok" (whereas some people felt they went too fast, were too big, and didn't include any individual attention for help and reassurance).
So how can you address this? The obvious one is - asking them, and listening properly to the answer. Next Antony advocated avoiding the "smiley face" syndrome, giving people evaluation forms straight after the session and possibly just getting what they think you want to hear. His other advice was: Don't have a one size fits all approach, use focus groups, follow up later (and/or via the lecturer), and use social media to interact.
Finally, Antony mentioned the "Students as consultants" project where they give students basic training, the student observes an educator teaching class, the students interviews the students in the class, and then the student writes a report on his/her findings to give back to the educator. That does sound a useful scheme.

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