Rethinking library instruction: using learning-outcome based design to teach online search strategies

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Meagan Lacy Hsin-liang Chen


Given the growing pressure on academic institutions and, by extension, academic libraries to establish student learning outcomes and demonstrate their impact on student learning, researchers at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) explored how outcome-based instructional design can be used to 1) collect student data, 2) assess student learning, and 3) improve instruction. Two surveys were distributed to 59 undergraduate students who were enrolled in an introductory composition course at IUPUI. Because previous studies (e.g. Ford, Miller and Moss 2005) have linked human individual differences with web search strategy, the first survey collected information about the students’ demographic features. The second survey, a search log, collected information about the sources that students chose, the search terms they used and the strategies they employed in order to complete their research. The students submitted their first survey after the instructional session and the second survey after they completed their research project. Using this data, the researchers examined whether students’ achievement could be associated with their personal characteristics and/or the librarian’s instruction. In contrast to Ford, Miller and Moss’s study (2005), no significant relationships were found between students’ personal characteristics and their search behaviour. However, after receiving instruction, all students were able to create keywords and structure them into search queries using Boolean operators. These results suggest that outcome-based instructional design is an effective pedagogical method for gathering assessment data and that the survey instrument was a useful tool for assessing this outcome - by providing both a measurement of student learning and a means of evaluating the librarian’s instruction.

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LACY, Meagan; CHEN, Hsin-liang. Rethinking library instruction: using learning-outcome based design to teach online search strategies. Journal of Information Literacy, [S.l.], v. 7, n. 2, p. 126-148, nov. 2013. ISSN 1750-5968. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 may 2019. doi:
information literacy; library instruction; student learning outcomes; search strategies; undergraduate students; academic libraries; USA
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