I am a reference and liaison librarian at Elizabeth Dafoe Library, the Humanities and Social Sciences Library of the University of Manitoba. The main floor of the Dafoe Library recently underwent and completed its renovation. The Library has transformed itself into a student-centered environment. We are all proud and happy to see students naturally finding group-work or more private, solitary-work settings in the newly renovated environment.
I am also interested in exploring and designing the learning environments, both online or offline, that engage students and facilitate their learning processes. The courses offered in the Interdisciplinary Certificate Program in Emerging Technologies for Learning, Extended Education, University of Manitoba, gave me the opportunity to explore and envision learners-centered learning environments as we shift continuously into the wired and digitally connected environment.
In fact, I came a long way since I first started my career in academic librarianship back in 1995. Around that time, the interest in information literacy among the academic librarians was just starting to emerge. It became our core professional mission shortly after. Library instruction for information literacy was my closest entry point to the topic of student learning. Although I was not necessarily following the main approach or perspective laid down and followed by the library professional organizations, that were essentially positivist in orientation, I looked for other potential perspectives. Christine Bruce‘s book, Seven Faces of Information Literacy (1997) [link to her web site], was very influential in establishing information literacy as the professional core mission in the academic library field. Bruce used phenomenography research to understand how adult learners relate to the notion of information literacy. In her research, she found that there were seven different meanings associated with information literacy among the adult learners.
Bruce’s research introduced me to the phenomenography research. It is usually associated with the context of the educational research trying to understand the variations in the learners’ perceptions about the task they are undertaking from the relational view. It helped us to look into the world of learners and their relationships to whatever they may be undertaking in their studies or research activities.
This eventually led me to another phenomenography research article of Limberg (1999), “Experiencing information seeking and learning: a study of the interaction between two phenomena.” Limberg studied a group of 25 high school seniors as they were undertaking the same research project assigned to them. She categorized three different information-seeking approaches undertaken by the students in order to complete the assignment. For the first group of students, doing research for the assignment meant a facts-finding venture. For the second group of students, on the other hand, it meant to select correct choices. The third group of students approached it completely differently. For them, they had some broader question in mind and doing research for the assignment meant “scruitinising and analyzing.” The results of her research really opened my eyes. Ever since, I came to view my library instructional situations very differently. It eventually convinced me that there is a plenty of room in higher education to intentionally guide, model, scaffold students to discover and develop their own voices and help them experience and engage in research. My new orientation to library instructions eventually led me to my blended learning exploratory study.
p.s.: In 2012, two UK library researchers published a book, Rethinking Information Literacy: A Practical Framework for Learning. They also set up a wiki documenting their research. In response to the UK initiatives, Martin (2012) compiled a report, “Learning from Recent British Information Literacy Models: A Report to ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force.”
Contact Information:Asako Yoshida Reference Services Elizabeth Dafoe Library University of Manitoba (204) 474-6591 Asako_Yoshida@Umanitoba.ca
- Bruce, C. (1997). The Seven Faces of Information Literacy. Auslib Press.
- Limberg, L. (1999). Experiencing information seeking and learning: a study of the interaction between two phenomena. Retrieved April 5, 2013, from http://informationr.net/ir/5-1/paper68.html
- Martin, J. L. (2013). Learning from Recent British Information Literacy Models: A Report to ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force. Retrieved from http://mavdisk.mnsu.edu/martij2/acrl.pdf
- A New Curriculum for Information Literacy Wiki (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2013, from http://ccfil.pbworks.com/w/page/39773468/Welcome%21.
- Phenomenography – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenography. (For a quick survey for the research method.)
- Secker, J., & Coonan, E. (Eds.). (2012). Rethinking Information Literacy: A Practical Framework for Teaching. Facet Publishing.