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This small-scale practical action research project set out to investigate how undergraduate Primary Teacher Education students in a UK university find and evaluate information, and whether short online tutorials hosted in the university’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) could support their information literacy development. Surveys and focus groups were used to explore students' information-seeking behaviours. Students then collaborated with the researcher in selecting, designing and creating a series of short video tutorials demonstrating key information literacy-related Library tools.
The project found that many students navigate both physical and online information environments with their focus on immediate short-term goals, without exploring; that key IL messages only communicated once are quickly forgotten; and that without frequent reminders of Library tools students devise their own workarounds to their IL problems, with varying degrees of success.
The article therefore argues, from the project findings and the existing higher education literature on strategic student behaviour online, that while students value short visual IL tutorials, librarians’ time and effort in producing these risks being wasted if it is simply assumed that students will find and use them unprompted. These findings have implications for professional practice in terms of how such resources are positioned and promoted.This is believed to be one of the first studies within the librarianship literature exploring the effect of students’ strategic navigation of online environments on their awareness of information literacy tools and resources, and suggesting tactics to address the resulting issues. It is also unusual in having collaborated with students in designing and producing information literacy resources.
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