Sunday, March 29, 2015

I-LEARN: Recent and Upcoming Presentations

In my previous post, I shared a bit about my dissertation and my continuing work related to designing instructional materials with I-LEARN as the underlying framework.  I've given several presentations on the topic and will be presenting others later this year:

  • 2015, August.  Creating Effective Instructional Materials with I-LEARN. Poster to be presented at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions World Library and Information Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.
  • 2015, June.  Creating Effective Instructional Materials with I-LEARN. Poster to be presented at the American Library Association Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.
  • 2014, November.  Using the I-LEARN Model to Design Information Literacy Instruction: Results of an Experimental Research Study and Opportunities for Future Practical Applications. Presented at the Association for Educational Communication and Technology, Jacksonville, FL.
  • 2014, October.  Using the I-LEARN Model to Design Information Literacy Instruction.  Presented at the European Conference on Information Literacy, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • 2014, August.  Using the I-LEARN Model to Design Information Literacy Instruction: Results of an Experimental Research Study and Opportunities for Future Practical Applications. Poster presented at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions World Library and Information Conference, Lyon, France.
  • 2014, June.  Creating Information Literacy Instructional Materials Using the I-LEARN Model: Embracing our Instructional Designer Role.  Poster presented at the Special Libraries Association Annual Conference, Vancouver, Canada.

While it's not directly related to I-LEARN, I am excited to be co-presenting an invited master class session with Leslie J. Reynolds at the SLA Annual Conference in Boston:  Revolutionary Learning Organizations: Core Values & Best Practices.  More on that later.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

What is I-LEARN?

In my previous post, I describe how I started down the path of exploring I-LEARN for designing information literacy instruction.  After my copy arrived, I read the book so many times and made so many notations it looked like Franny's little book.  I knew I had found where to focus my efforts, and that's what I've done for the last three years.

So what is I-LEARN?  My higher education friends may be surprised to know that it's a learning model which was initially focused on the K-12 environment. (Here's a way to plan a lesson about Australia.  It has since been implemented in my work as well as other universities like this one.) Without straying too far from the purpose of this post, I'd like to emphasize how much librarians in higher education and school media specialists have in common.  We are experts in finding, evaluating, and using information.  We are generally a very dedicated bunch who want very much for our students to learn and succeed, yet we often have little time to work with students directly.  The faculty member/teacher has to decide that information literacy instruction is important enough to set aside time for it and to continue to emphasize its importance beyond the often single library visit.  I like to point out that the main difference between a high school senior and a college freshman is about three months (and it was pretty cool being quoted on that at ECIL 2014).  Anyway, we have much in common, and school media specialists often have an advantage in that many of them have formal coursework related to instructional design, learning theory, educational technology, and so forth, while many of us academic librarians are still muddling around on our own trying to figure things out.  We really should work together and learn from each other more often.  If you are interested in learning more about our similarities and the prominent role school media specialists have played in instructional design and the development of information literacy standards, take a look at chapter two of my dissertation.

Anyway, so from the start, I really liked that I-LEARN was created by someone who has been working with school media specialists for years and is highly regarded in both the instructional design and the library and information science communities.  It's that combination of theory and practice that serves as the foundation for I-LEARN.  The mnemonic is simply Identify, Locate, Evaluate, Apply, Reflect, and kNow.  Typical library instruction focuses on identify, locate, and evaluate.  We're pretty good at those things.  The model digs deeper into those areas and emphasizes the recursiveness of those steps (we all know how research is so much trial and error, but often our students don't).  What sets I-LEARN apart is the combination of these skills with the latter parts of the model which focus on using information--actually thinking about what you've found, synthesizing it into an information product, revising it, rethinking it, maybe going back for more information, and ultimately adding to your own knowledge base through this experience.  You've learned something!

If you read the book, you'll find much more detail on each stage of the model.  Perhaps like me, you will quickly realize that the model would work very well for information literacy instruction; after all, the core focus of the model is learning with information.  You may also realize too that it would work great for building entire lessons or planning an entire course. I've actually built some assignment guides for a library science graduate course using the model, and it helps in breaking down the pieces of say, writing a literature review.  While my next post will focus on information literacy instruction, Dr. Neuman does emphasize that it's more than a library skills model, it's a learning model which could really be used in any environment.  Pretty exciting, huh!

Next post:  I-LEARN: Research and Practice

Thursday, March 05, 2015

How I Found My Dissertation Topic

When you are a doctoral student, you start thinking about your dissertation as soon as you are accepted to the program.  In my case, back in summer 2009, I knew I wanted to do something with information literacy instruction and instructional design, but I didn't know what.  My advisor is brilliant and encouraged us to write literature reviews for any class like they were the chapter two of your dissertation.  So I explored several topics in that way: active learning strategies and information literacy instruction, various interactive classroom technologies and information literacy instruction, online learning and information literacy instruction.  I learned a great deal, but I wasn't coming up with anything that lent itself well to a quasi-experimental study that I could reasonably do given the constraints of finding an appropriate number of subjects.  And as they say, you have to find something that is very, very interesting to you, or otherwise you'll end up miserable after spending so many years on this one topic.

I am an avid conference-goer in the library world, but I didn't have the opportunity to attend an education-focused conference until I attended the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) conference in fall 2011.  Much like any conference, the serendipity you experience often far outweighs the expenditure of attendance.  In this case, my advisor had frequently mentioned someone he knew who was a highly regarded library and information science researcher who also happened to be an expert in instructional design.  As these things go, he had the opportunity to introduce us at a reception, and I learned that she had just published a book which presented an instructional design model called I-LEARN that tied together a great deal of research in instructional design and information science.  While waiting in the line for the bar, I ordered the book online using my phone.  And as they say, the rest is history.

Next post: What is I-LEARN?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Updates from the Uncommon Commons

Hello again, readers!

Since I moved into a different position in 2010, I have apparently been reduced to one post per year. I was hoping to remedy that in 2014...but here we are.

This blog started with a focus on learning spaces, and several of the more popular posts are still reviewed regularly (like the ones about those weird-at-the-time service desks or the parties we used to have in the Hub or the video windows or the floor signs that are all pretty typical now).  Learning spaces are still a big interest of mine, and I was involved in some pretty exciting renovations in 2013. Lately though my attention has been focused on some follow-up projects related to my dissertation work.

I had the pleasure of presenting at four international conferences in 2014 to talk about the benefits of designing instruction using the I-LEARN model.  Interested in hearing more?  I am working on a post (an actual--not annual update--post about it).  One of the conferences I presented at last year was so awesome, I asked if I could join the program committee, and so now I am on for 2015. Interested in presenting in Tallinn in October?  Check out the European Information Literacy Conference.  I will likely be posting about that as well since the the 2014 conference was one of the best conferences I have ever attended.

I have also been teaching at two iSchools which has been pretty amazing.  Library science students who are eager to learn more about all things academic library--sign me up!

Since I can't use the doctoral student excuse anymore, I have stepped up my volunteer leadership work in SLA a bit.  I am currently serving on the executive board of the Leadership and Management Division as Director of Communications.  I am also in my third year of participating on the Professional Development Advisory Council, and I expect I may be Archivist for the Academic Division until I retire.  I have emphasized many times what a great group SLA is and how your can develop so many skills through volunteer leadership oppotunities.

So that's enough updates for now.  I am committed to writing more about I-LEARN and how it is a most awesome tool for building course guides, learning modules, and all sorts of instructional materials, so watch for that soon!