Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln



Lorna M. Dawes

Date of this Version



In: Proceedings of LOEX Annual Conference 2016: Learning from the Past, Building for the Future, Pittsburgh:PA. May 5-7. 2016


Copyright (c) 2016 Lorna Dawes


The new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy (ACRL, 2015) has propelled librarians into new approaches to teaching that concentrate on the concepts and not the procedures or tasks that relate to the effective use of information. It is known that students vary their learning strategies in response to the context of their learning environment (Richardson, 2011) and so it is imperative that instruction facilitates various ways of learning, that can be accommodated in both the small and large classes. Historically librarians have focused on the teaching of the skills: how to search databases, how to find information, how to evaluate information, and how to avoid plagiarism etc., with the expectation that the teaching of these skills translates into a change in thinking and behavior regarding information use. What librarians want students to learn is documented in many information literacy standards and frameworks, and what students actually learn has also been the focus of numerous studies and reports (Oakleaf, 2014). However, how students learn these information literacy skills and concepts, what type of learning takes place, and what can be done to facilitate this learning, is not frequently addressed. The latest research in student success and engagement emphasizes student centered learning as one of the most effective ways to increase engagement (Saltman, 2012) implying that engagement is synonymous with the type of learning that impacts student success in a positive way. Unfortunately, engagement alone does not always translate into learning, but opens the door to different ways of learning that when facilitated by teaching, results in student success.

Instruction is about teaching and learning and teaching strategies are informed not only by our subject content, but also by how students learn. The new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education introduces two levels of content in each frame. Each frame describes an important information literacy concept that is operationalized in the Knowledge Practices and the Dispositions. The Knowledge Practices state how students are expected to demonstrate their ability to use and manage information; the ‘Dispositions’ on the other hand, address, a higher order thinking that transforms behavior and attitudes towards information literacy. The Knowledge Practices and the Dispositions together shape the learning goals that are related to the information literacy concepts, and outline clearly what the teaching and learning should look like in and out of the classroom. It is therefore important that all information literacy instruction should include teaching that facilitates an understanding and mastering of information literacy skills, and a teaching of information literacy concepts that results in the transformation of behavior and a new way of thinking.