Tailoring information literacy instruction and library services for continuing education

Jessica Lange, Robin Canuel, Megan Fitzgibbons
2011, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 66-80

Abstract


As higher education diversifies worldwide, academic librarians must adapt their information literacy initiatives to meet the needs of new populations. This paper explores the implementation of information literacy instruction and library services for diverse adult learners, in response to Cooke’s (2010) call for case studies on the relationship between andragogy and information literacy. Based on librarians’ success in reaching a previously underserved continuing education department, a variety of practical techniques for working with diverse students and instructors are discussed, with a focus on how learners’ characteristics inform the approaches. Effective techniques from adult education theory and information literacy practice are discussed in the context of outreach to continuing education learners.

Librarians adapt instruction and communication strategies for students with varying levels of language, library, and technology skills; teach outside usual “business hours”; teach online; integrate information literacy outcomes in course curricula; tailor communication to students and instructors; and continually develop entirely new workshops based upon the content specific to continuing education programmes. Through these efforts, this unique group of students and instructors has been provided with previously unrealised access to information literacy training and library services.

Challenges in outreach and teaching remain; however, the groundwork has been laid for a sustained liaison relationship. Future work will include systematic evaluation of successes and changing needs so that structured information literacy efforts, tailored for continuing education students, can evolve over time.


Keywords


information literacy, adult learners, continuing education, outreach

Full Text: PDF