Resource-Based Learning: Gateway to Information Literacy

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dc.contributor.author Laverty, Corinne Y.
dc.date.accessioned 2009-11-16T15:23:16Z
dc.date.available 2009-11-16T15:23:16Z
dc.date.issued 2000
dc.identifier.citation Laverty, Corinne Y., (2000) 'Resource-Based Learning: Gateway to Information Literacy', Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2160/3532
dc.description.abstract This dissertation investigated resource-based learning units in two school libraries in elementary school settings at Kingston, Ontario, Canada during 1994 - 1995. Resource-based learning (RBL) is defined as learning by which both subject content and information-literacy objectives are achieved through exposure to, and practise with, multiple learning materials. The RBL units, entitled Voyage of the Mimi, were designed by Bank Street College in New York, and involved students in extended research projects involving the study of whales and Mayan civilization. As an introduction to the study, characteristics of the information literate are identified and the importance of information literacy in our learning society is forecast. The literature review traces the origins of RBL as a method for fostering information literacy, outlines key documents in its development, and places it within the evolution of library instruction. Current interpretations of RBL and its practice at the elementary, secondary, and university level are described in various countries. An overview of different models of library instruction and how each meets the challenge of information literacy development is included. A discussion of how students learn from resources and the demands of information retrieval and use expands the picture of what real life information literacy entails. Participant observation in the library, conversations with children, teacher, librarians, and principals, as well as small group interviews before and after the study were used to gather data on the effects of the RBL unit on student attitudes and abilities in learning to find information. Other questions which were addressed included how RBL is best designed and integrated into the curriculum, the components of these units that appeal to students, and ways in which teachers can be encouraged to foster RBL progammes. Findings revealed that RBL provides opportunities for information seeking as a way of mastering subject content and creating a foundation for the development of information literacy skills. Undertaking investigation through the RBL unit became the process by which topics were discovered and learning took place. Moving the process of investigation into daily classroom activities identified it as an important part of learning and consequently elevated the nature of the research process in the minds of students. Observation of students at work revealed that certain research strategies were missing or not well understood. Fewer than half the students in either class felt equipped to proceed with what they considered to be "correct research" by starting with the card catalogue. Clearly students did not bring much individual thought or action to their investigations, and were instead attempting to work through a set of pre-determined "best" steps without formulating a personal plan or reflecting on the progress of the investigation itself. Of all the messages they had gathered from their library training, the idea of laying a ground plan of action was conspicuously absent. This stage allows the investigator to individualize and consciously direct the search process by actively participating in its construction. Over the course of the unit, perceptions of research strategy changed, research skills were practised and improved with experience, and attitudes towards doing research were reversed to become entirely positive. Students remarked on the usefulness of the project and the special understanding and perspective they gained of the research process itself. The search process was no longer encountered only as a private assigmnent conducted by an individual outside class time for a special project once a term. The lengthy duration of the research segment allowed students to discover new paths in their hunt for information and to understand that there is not necessarily a "right" way to research. One of the most significant findings of the study was the change in student perception of doing research from a set of rigid impersonal steps to a versatile, personal, and holistic process. Students across classes and schools described their new awareness of the process of investigation. Their comments also reflected new-found research confidence, ability to work independently in the library, and a sense that they would be less nervous and uncomfortable doing future research because of the experience they had gained. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Aberystwyth University en
dc.title Resource-Based Learning: Gateway to Information Literacy en
dc.type Text en
dc.type.publicationtype doctoral thesis en


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