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Identifying Instruction and Learning Priorities in Programs

These resources will help you examine a particular program in terms of where students are expected to exercise research and scholarly activities, placing demands on their information literacy abilities.

Learning Goals for Information Literacy

Identify Information Literacy Moments

Most programs have assignments and learning activities in their required courses that involve library and information use. These assignments are moments for the exercise and learning of information literacy. These moments are not equal though in terms of instruction that may be needed whether from the course instructor or a librarian. But we cannot determine the need until we identify the moment.

These documents are available for most programs and can be helpful in finding the IL moments and understanding their particular natures. We can also draw from our experiences in our reference work, previous instruction for the program, and especially from discussions and conversations with the faculty in the department.

Assess Learning and Instruction Needs

Needs assessment is the neglected cousin to outcomes assessment but no less important. For each course or assignment identified as a moment, our task is to consider:

  • What have most of the students had a chance to learn up to this moment?
  • What specific or novel resources are available for use in this moment?
  • What specialized or advanced techniques for use of common resources might be relevant?
  • What do students most often find difficult or need help with at this moment?
  • What preconceptions, if any, do students tend to bring to this moment that hamper their progress?

A larger consideration is to begin to prioritize by giving weight to the moments depending on the nature and extent of the need for instruction or support for the particular needs. A typical pattern for support might include:

  • direct instruction and scaffolding early in the program for key concepts and specialized tools in order to get the students engaged in research in the field;
  • guides, tips and suggestions as needed through the middle of the program while students explore the information environment in their field and practice and improve their research practices;
  • and personalized consulting toward the end of a program when students are gaining some expertise as independent scholars in their field.

 

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