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Using the Lessons

Teaching with the Lessons

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Lessons are offered under Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

Students connect to information literacy concepts best when they can relate them to an assignment or project. Therefore, as with all library instruction, we suggest that students complete the lessons after the associated research project has been explained, but before the project is due. When possible, we recommend that course faculty or instructors begin communicating with their librarian while drafting the syllabus.

Ways to Use NLA Lessons

The NLA lessons can be used as stand-alone learning objects or can be packaged together. Librarians and instructors can choose to use one lesson or package multiple lessons together. Common reasons for using lessons in the classroom include:

  • establishing foundational concepts;
  • reviewing concepts or information practices (e.g., developing a research question; evaluating source authority in various contexts);
  • preparing for a class discussion or activity (led by either the instructor or a librarian); and
  • offering self-paced online learning.

Because the lessons can be scored and/or readily integrated into most learning management systems, instructors often assign lessons as homework. Lessons can also be integrated and scaffolded into degree programs, as librarians collaborate with faculty who teach foundational, research, and capstone courses. Rather than relying on one course or instructor to introduce all concepts, educators can integrate lessons throughout a program. Students will have more opportunities to build on and apply their learning over time.

Pedagogical Approach

The NLA lessons are inspired by the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (Framework). The Framework emphasizes inquiry and the social exchange and construction of knowledge. It also describes conceptual understandings as key to deep learning. The ACRL Framework is structured into six “frames” that articulate intersecting information literacy concepts:

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Information Has Value
  • Research as Inquiry
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration

The Framework also gives attention to cognitive and affective learning, as is evident in its emphasis on metacognitive thinking and dispositions like curiosity and open-mindedness. This holistic perspective contrasts with more traditional representations of information literacy as a set of discrete, procedural skills. Additionally, the Framework focuses on practices and attitudes towards information that transcend specific disciplines.

NLA lessons reflect the Framework’s pedagogical approaches and core concepts. Lessons include individual tutorials related to each of the six frames. NLA is continually creating new lessons that address various aspects of each frame and that help students develop from novices to experts in relation to various information practices.