Project Information Literacy

In case you haven’t heard of Project Information Literacy, they are a nonprofit that partners with University of Washington’s information school devoted to studying research habits of early adults. They have lots of really fascinating information on how college students do their research.

Check out their many useful reports, available free.

I really enjoyed their report “Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age,” so much that I created an infographic of its basic findings. Google actually ISN’T no. 1 for course-related research – course readings are. Students tend to seek information from course readings and their instructors before they approach librarians.

Check out my infographic here: How College Students Seek Information.

Learning Badges: A solution to growing library instruction programs?

Let’s face it: academic libraries are only going to continue having to do more with less. As print circulation drops, use of  online library resources (hopefully) rises – but how is your library meeting the challenge of teaching students to use online resources efficiently? I would guess that most instruction librarians are already on teaching overload! The solution may lie in online classes – but not the for-credit, instructor-led classes that you’re used to!

badges

The future of information literacy instruction may, instead, lie in learning badges! Many college and university libraries are turning to “gamification” or short, online modules, that teach students specific info lit skills and reward students with colorful, virtual “badges” that the students can collect and show off. Purdue University seems to be at the forefront of developing academic library badges. Take a look at U of A librarian Nicole Pagowsky’s review of Purdue’s beta badge program.

Done well, learning badges look like some of those developed at University of California, Davis, for the sustainable agriculture program. Earned badges allow students to show the world what they’ve learned. “Each badge would allow the employer to click through to more detailed levels of evidence and explanation—documents, assessment results, hyperlinks, video, and more.” Badges are fully explained and hopefully transferrable to use outside of academia.

In fact, learning badges have the potential to transform records of academic learning as we know it today:

Compared with the new open badge systems, the standard college transcript looks like a sad and archaic thing. Its considerable value is not based on the information it provides, which is paltry. What does a letter grade in a course often described only by the combination of a generic department label and an arbitrary number (e.g. Econ 302) really mean? Nobody knows, which is why accredited colleges often don’t trust that information for the purposes of credit transfer, even when it comes from other accredited colleges.

What do you think? Do you see potential for learning badges at your institution?