Learning Literacies through collaborative enquiry; collaborative enquiry through learning literacies

Jo Ashley, Freya Jarman, Tunde Varga-Atkins, Nedim Hassan
2012, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 50-71

Abstract


The extent to which university departments foster learning literacies that equip students with the diverse skills required for employment in a digital world is an issue that is under increased scrutiny in British higher education. The Learning Literacies in the Digital Age report (LLiDA by Beetham et al. 2009) offers a framework of learning literacies, which encompasses a range of literacies including academic, information, digital and media literacies. Building on the LLiDA framework, this article outlines and discusses an approach that aimed to extend the development of information literacies of first-year undergraduate students along with digital and media literacies. The central characteristics of this approach involved students working collaboratively, in teams, on an enquiry-based learning task using the institutional virtual learning environment’s wiki tool. The task involved developing and creating a wiki on exactly the kind of learning literacies that students were meant to acquire during this enquiry. This dual development was underpinned by the collaborative input of staff from academic and central services departments. Student survey feedback and observation were used to map the various gains in the areas of 1) collaboration and communication skills, 2) information literacy (IL), academic practice (study skills) and employability skills, 3) media and digital/computer literacies and, finally, 4) disciplinary skills. The findings confirm the usefulness of the LLiDA framework as well as point to its potential for further development to map literacies specific to the discipline.


Keywords


information literacy; digital literacy; media literacy; literacies; enquiry-based learning; group work; wikis; undergraduates; study skills; collaboration; UK; England

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