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Library Information Skills Curriculum: Learning Outcomes

This guide details how the library's instruction program addresses the learning outcomes of the ACRL Frameworks for Information Literacy.

Learning Outcomes (based on the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy)

Authority is Constructed and Contextual

The authority of an information resource depends upon its origins, context, and suitability for a current information need. Learners who understand this concept will critically examine sources and ask questions about them; they will also recognize and acknowledge biases that privilege some sources of authority over others and be able to define contexts in which unlikely resources are appropriate and authoritative.

Learning Outcomes

Students can:

  • Use various research tools to locate resources in a range of formats
  • Evaluate resources using appropriate criteria
  • Identify different types of authority
  • Describe the biases of an information resource

Students will:

  • Seek authoritative information from both traditional and non-traditional sources
  • Develop an open mind when selecting and evaluating resources
  • Develop a critical stance and awareness of their own biases
  • Identify the economic, legal, and socioeconomic factors that influence the research they see and access

Information Creation as a Process

Information is used to convey knowledge, and it exists in a variety of formats that reflect a range of research, revision, and editorial processes. Learners who understand this concept will recognize that different formats are valued differently based upon their context and the researcher’s information need; they will examine the process of creation as well as the final product to critically evaluate the usefulness of information.

Learning Outcomes

Students can:

  • Identify steps in the information creation process
  • Describe the range of information formats
  • Define the differences between traditional and emerging information creation and dissemination practices
  • Articulate how information is perceived and valued differently based on its format
  • Identify how creators of repositories such as HillSearch, databases, etc. select, organize and describe information

Students will:

  • Match their information need with an appropriate format or formats
  • Identify the value placed upon different formats within different contexts
  • Recognize that format does not guarantee the value of an information resource
  • Examine how a resource is created as well as the final product when evaluating its usefulness

Information Has Value

The value of information takes many forms: it is a means for educating individuals and influencing ideas and a tool for negotiating and understanding the world. Learners who understand this concept understand their rights and responsibilities when creating and using information; they will recognize how information can be used to effect change or for civic, economic, social, or personal gains.

Learning Outcomes

Students can:

  • Credit the work of others through proper attribution and citations
  • Articulate the purpose and characteristics of copyright, fair use, open access, and the public domain
  • Decide where and how to publish their own information while protecting their intellectual property rights

Students will:

  • Make informed choices related to the privacy and publication of their personal information
  • Recognize that information has the power to influence individuals' understanding of an issue
  • Recognize why some individuals or groups may be underrepresented or marginalized within systems that create and distribute information
  • Recognize disparities in access to information
  • Value the skills, time, and resources needed to produce knowledge ‚Äč

Research as Inquiry

Research is iterative and requires us to ask increasingly complex questions that lead to new questions and areas of inquiry. Learners who understand this concept see research as a process and understand that research is used to meet personal, professional, or social, as well as academic needs; they recognize that inquiry ranges from the simple query, to the complex investigation requiring sophisticated research methods and a broad range of information sources.

Learning Outcomes

Students can:

  • Form questions based on self-identified gaps in their knowledge
  • Determine an appropriate scope of investigation
  • Synthesize information from a variety of sources
  • Use appropriate research methods based on their information need
  • Follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information

Students will:

  • Define research as open-ended exploration
  • Value intellectual curiosity in developing questions
  • Value persistence, adaptability, and flexibility in their research practices
  • Maintain an open mind and a critical stance
  • Seek help when needed

Scholarship as Conversation

Communities of scholars, researchers, and professionals engage in ongoing discourse that is open to new contributions and diverse viewpoints. Learners who understand this concept will recognize that ideas are formulated, debated, and weighed against one another over extended periods of time and may not have established answers; they recognize that existing power and authority structures further influence which individuals have a voice in scholarly conversations.

Learning Objectives:

Students can:

  • Identify the contribution a particular article, book, or scholarly piece makes to disciplinary knowledge
  • Summarize the changes in a particular scholarly topic over time
  • Seek out the larger scholarly context for a particular piece of information
  • Contribute to the scholarly conversation at an appropriate level through original research
  • Identify the barriers to entering scholarly conversations in various venues

Students will:

  • Recognize that a scholarly work may not represent the only or even the majority perspective on an issue
  • Value the work of others by respecting intellectual property and providing credit
  • Value new forms of scholarship that provide avenues for a wide variety of individuals to participate
  • View themselves as contributors to scholarship rather than consumers

Searching as Strategic Exploration

Searching is a nonlinear process that involves inquiry, discovery, and serendipity. Learners who understand this will evaluate a wide range of sources to meet their information needs, and will display the persistence and mental flexibility to pursue different routes as their understanding develops. They will have the ability to broaden their search resources and strategies.

Learning Objectives:

Students can:

  • Determine the scope of their information need
  • Match search tools and resources to their information need
  • Identify the broad range of information sources on a particular topic and how to locate them
  • Use different search strategies effectively

Students will:

  • Conduct a comprehensive search of resources within their area of inquiry
  • Recognize that the relevance and value of resources will vary depending on the needs and nature of their research
  • Design and refine their search language and strategies based on search results
  • Exhibit mental flexibility and creativity
  • Seek guidance from librarians, faculty and other experts

Adapted from the Association of College and Research Libraries (2016 January 11) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

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