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'Problem-based learning in the library: implementing PBL into one-shot nursing infromation literacy sessions', case- study presented at FACiLiTATE conference, TCD, 26-27 May 2011.

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  • Medicine

Abstract

Research suggests that students engaged in problem-based learning (PBL) will make greater use of libraries and library resources, and result in a greater need for information and research skills (Dodd, 2008). This provides a unique and valuable opportunity for librarians to promote information literacy (IL) skills to a receptive user profile. Less has been written about effective use of PBL approaches in actual IL instructional sessions delivered by librarians. Indeed, much of the IL instruction on-going in libraries today is delivered as one-shot sessions; with large student numbers, within a 50-60 minute timeframe. This makes it all too easy to deliver IL instruction in a behaviourist way, attempting to cram ‘point-and-click’ demonstrations of multiple resources in the hope that students later remember at least some part of the session. PBL could be used in IL sessions to actively engage students in a challenging and active learning environment (Kenney, 2008). But, in the one-shot session, students don’t have the benefit of working on complex problems over time. Also, the student has little opportunity to reflect on the problem, and react accordingly. With this is mind, does PBL have a place in IL instruction? This case study takes a closer look at the final year Nursing IL programme in Waterford Institute of Technology, which introduced a PBL approach on a pilot basis. It takes a practitioner viewpoint at the development of the sessions, particularly when devising problems for investigation. By assigning team roles, and using specific and manageable timed tasks, students were asked to identify and retrieve scholarly research on the problem presented. Finally, student groups presented their findings to the class, which were recorded and analysed against the findings of their peers. An initial small-scale evaluation was carried out to gauge the success of the pilot. Feedback to date has been very favourable: 93% of students rated the programme favourably. Despite this, the demands on the librarian as a PBL facilitator should not be underestimated. By providing constructive solutions for incorporating PBL into IL sessions, this paper is a useful source for libraries in similar positions, faced with similar challenges. References Dodd, L. (2007) ‘The impact of problem-based learning on the information behaviour and literacy of veterinary medicine students at University College Dublin’, Journal of Academic Librarianship, 33(2), 206-216. Kenney, B. (2008) ‘Revitalizing the one-shot instruction session using problem-based learning’, Reference & User Services Quarterly, 47(4), 386-391.

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