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MacEwan University Librarians have revamped introductory information literacy programming to incorporate active learning activities. Our session will discuss the value of active learning, share the chart used to match activities with learning objectives, and allow participants to experience active learning activities that could be adapted for programming in all types of libraries.


  • 1. Activate Your Learners!Active Learning Strategies for Fostering ParticipantEngagement in Information Literacy SessionsLisa Shamchuk, Leah Plouffe & Jody NelsonMacEwan University LibraryCLA Conference and TradeshowMay 30, 2013
  • 2. OutlineThis session will: Discuss the value of including active learningtechniques in instruction/programming. Present the chart used by our teaching team toindividualize instruction. Allow you to try out active learning activities.
  • 3. Active LearningActive learning refers to a student-centredinstruction method which focuses on havingstudents actively participate in the learningprocess.
  • 4. Advantages of Active Learning Improves: Interest Motivation Involvement Group work dynamics Allows students to: Express their ideas/opinions Practice their skills Take responsibility for theirown learning Recognizes a variety of learningstyles
  • 5. Tips for Active Learning Talk informally with students as they arrive for class. Expect that students will participate and act accordingly. Arrange the classroom to encourage participation including putting chairs in a clusteror circle if appropriate. Reduce anonymity by introducing yourself. Ask the class to relate previous libraryexperiences to you. Use small group discussion, questioning, and writing to allow for non-threateningmethods of student participation. Give students time to give responses, do not rush them. Reward students for participating by praising them or paraphrasing what they say. Draw the students into discussions by showing the relevance of the library to theirstudies. Allow students time to ask questions at the end of class. Use humour to add an element of fun to sessions.(Drueke, 1992)
  • 6. Goal Activities ACRL StandardIntroduction to (or reviewof) the library and itsservices Jeopardy Shoot Out PressConferenceIdentifying alternatesynonyms and spellings Taboo Synonym Race2.2.b : Identifies keywords, synonyms and relatedterms for the information neededApplying Boolean Logic Human Booleans Shuffle and Deal Coloured Shapes2.2.d: Constructs a search strategy usingappropriate commands for the information retrievalsystem selected (e.g., Boolean operators, truncationand proximity for search engines)Identifyingpopular/trade/academicarticles Sorting Journals Wanted Ad ResourceReferee: Journals3.2.a: Examines and compares information fromvarious sources in order to evaluate reliability,validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness and point ofview or bias.3.2.d: Recognizes the cultural, physical or othercontext within which the information was createdand understands the impact ofcontext on interpreting the information.Searching databases Scrimmage Librarian Needs aNew Car ResourceReferee:Databases2.2.e: Implements the search strategy in variousinformation retrieval systems using differentuser interfaces and search engines.2.3.a: Uses various search systems to retrieveinformation in a variety of formats.
  • 7. Introduction to (or reviewof) the library and itsservicesIdentifying alternatesynonyms and spellingsApplying Boolean Logic Identifyingpopular/trade/academicarticlesSearching databasesJeopardyReview of library skills(general library, catalogue,periodicals, databases, etc)using Powerpoint Jeopardygame.TabooTopic keywords are declaredtaboo and cannot be used tosearch. Students brainstormother terms in pairs orgroups.Human BooleansStudent clothing or birthdatesare used to demonstrate howBoolean operators can beused to narrow or widen asearch.Sorting JournalsProvided stacks of mixedtypes of journals are sortedand described by students.ScrimmageBased on discovery principle,students search databases ontheir topic without receivinginstruction and then discusstheir methods before thelibrarian demonstrates.Shoot OutStudents write questions onslips of paper and throw themto the front of the class.Questions are answered atthe end of the session, if notcovered at the beginning orduring the class.Synonym RaceStudents are placed in teamsand given a keyword. Teamsthen race to come up with themost synonyms.Shuffle and DealStudents are given a playingcard, and stand wheninstructor asks for certaincombinations using AND, ORto demonstrate how Booleanoperators can be used tonarrow or widen a search.Wanted AdStudents write a wanted adfor academic journals,describing theircharacteristics.Librarian Needs a New CarStudents search for an itemand discuss different resultsfound via web, CBCA,1search, catalogue, etc.Press ConferenceColoured cards with libraryquestions are given tostudents at the beginning ofclass and answeredthroughout at timely intervals.Coloured ShapesPremade coloured shapesare given out to students.Students stand when theircard is described with AND,OR, NOT to demonstrate howBoolean operators can beused to narrow or widen asearch.Resource Referee: JournalsFolders are filled with articlesthat might be found indifferent types of journals etc.Students are asked toexamine contents andcomment.Resource Referee:DatabasesFolders are filled with itemsthat might be found onGoogle, different databases,etc. Students are asked toexamine contents andcomment.
  • 8. Shoot Out & Press Conference Cards
  • 9. Shuffle and Deal
  • 10. Sorting Journals?
  • 11. Resource Referee: Databases
  • 12. ReflectionWhat types of active learning activities are youalready doing in your sessions?Of the activities discussed, which could you seeyourself using/modifying for your sessions? How?What potential problems/issues can you foreseewith any of these activities?
  • 13. Questions?Lisa ShamchukshamchukL@macewan.caLeah Plouffeleahplouffe@gmail.comJody
  • 14. ReferencesActive learning" (2009). In S. Wallace (Ed.), A dictionary of education. Retrieved from 2012from http://www.oxfordreference.comBooth, C. (2011). Reflective teaching, effective learning: Instructional literacy for library educators. Chicago:American Library Association.Burkhardt, J. M., MacDonald, M. C., & Rathemacher, A. J. (2010). Teaching information literacy: 50standards-based exercises for college students (2nd ed.). Chicago: American Library Association.Chen, K. & Lin, P. (2011). Information literacy in university library user education. Aslib Proceedings, 63(4), 399-418. doi:10.1108/00012531111148967Drueke, J. (1992). Active learning in the university library instruction classroom. Research Strategies, 10(Spring), pp. 77-83.Holderied, A. C. (2011). Instructional design for the active: Employing interactive technologies and activelearning exercises to enhance information literacy. Journal of Information Literacy, 5(1), 23-32. Retrievedfrom, R., & Cook, D. (2009). The library instruction cookbook. Chicago: Association of College and ResearchLibraries.