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“Evaluating Information Literacy Educators’ Practices”: Journal Club Report by Emily Delahaye

By Anne Welsh, on 5 December 2014

ResearchBlogging.org

Andretta, S. (2011). Evaluating information literacy educators’ practices before and after the course facilitating information literacy education: from tutor to learner-centred Health Information & Libraries Journal, 28 (3), 171-178 DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2011.00946.x

Article summary:

Susie Andretta analyses the impact that an intensive course at London Metropolitan University, ‘Facilitating Information Literacy Education’ (FILE), has had on healthcare librarians, and their ability to teach information literacy (IL) skills. FILE aims to change teaching by librarians, from being tutor-centred to learner-centred. It also aims to make teaching more evidence-based, reflecting the importance of evidence-based practice in healthcare, and evidence-based library and information practice. The author surveyed students that had completed the course between 2007 and 2010, to learn about their teaching styles before and after attending the FILE course. 19 out of 21 respondents stated that FILE had had a substantial impact on the way they delivered IL training. One librarian volunteered that they now incorporated hands on activities into their sessions to make them more learner-centred. However, having too large a number of participants in IL training was identified as an obstacle to becoming learner-centred, as some librarians did not have time to learn about the needs of all their users in advance of sessions. The research in this article will be followed by interviews with participants to gain more of an insight into this area of study.

Discussion:

Discussion began with talking about the focus of the article – teaching healthcare librarians how to teach IL to library users effectively. It was suggested that the article was particularly appropriate to us, as MA LIS students, as we are sharpening our own digital literacy skills in order to complete our work, and, after graduation, we will be going out into the world of libraries to pass this onto users. The role of journals in scholarly communication was also touched on. This article represents the preliminary part of Andretta’s research, and instead of waiting to finish her research and then publish, it makes sense to disseminate as you go. Journals are the perfect format for that.We then looked at the article in more depth. Methodology was the first topic raised. One member of the group felt that the number of people surveyed was too few to enable the author to draw strong conclusions. Out of 58 librarians invited to take part in the survey, only 21 responded.

We were also not sure why gender had been used as a means to distinguish anonymised participants, e.g 19M and 12F . It was speculated that there might have been an explanation for this which, when the article was edited, was thought of as unnecessary and taken out. Alternatively, it might have been hypothesised that gender would have an impact, and this turned out to not be the case. Another suggestion, following on from the first comments on disseminating findings continuously throughout the research process, was that gender might play a role in the author’s larger research project.

The article uses a self-reflective survey as it’s methodology. Following this we questioned what other measures could be used to analyse teaching, and to test whether this type of  training had an impact on teaching or not. It was suggested that to see if there was improvement, a researcher would first need to define goals that teaching needed to achieve, to be classed as successful.

In the field of healthcare, a skills needs assessment was proposed as an appropriate method for collecting information about what users need to know, which can be followed up on in training. This was put forward as appropriate, as evaluating needs and prioritising is what happens in healthcare constantly in order to provide good care. In the article it did focus on the evaluative process that librarians brought to their sessions, as a result of FILE, in order to have learners reflect on what they have learnt.
This was the last journal club meeting of 2014, looking forward to more sessions next term!
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Emily Delahaye (@EmilyDelahaye) is studying full-time for her MA LIS, while working part-time.​ 

Journal Club takes place once a month, and is facilitated by Charlie Inskip and Anne Welsh, with organisational support from Laura Keshav. This year we are discussing three articles on the theme of Information Literacy and three on more general topics. Discussion is led by students, and covers the research methods of the article and its contents, which are then used as a springboard to students’ experiences with regard to the topics raised by the article. The Club is open solely to students in the Department of Information Studies.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Emily Delahaye is is the sole author of this piece, drawing on the contributions of the students at Journal Club on Tuesday evening.