Loughborough University
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Developing a new blended approach to fostering information literacy

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posted on 2011-02-25, 15:08 authored by Geoffrey L. Walton
This thesis examines how to engage UK based undergraduate students in Sport & Exercise in the process of becoming information literate in their subject area. The Main Study focused on three groups of students enrolled on a core subject based module. The module in question was delivered via a blended learning approach where part of the delivery was face-to-face and part online via discussion board within the Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Acquiring a rigorous understanding of how to deliver information literacy (IL) required four things to be achieved: an understanding of the field of IL; an appreciation of the information behaviour (IB) processes underpinning IL, an awareness of current theory and practice in the area of teaching and learning and finally, an understanding of current thinking and scholarship in e-learning. In particular the thesis adopted notions of constructivist approaches to learning recommended by Mayes & de Freitas (2004), community of practice (Wenger, 1999), scaffolding (JISC, 2004), and managing online discourse (Goodyear, 2001) to create a workable, theoretically and empirically grounded model for testing. An in depth investigation of methodological theory was carried out in order to devise a robust research strategy to thoroughly test this new model. This strategy has a number of unique characteristics: it uses an IB model (Hepworth, 2004), a cognitive theory of learning (Bloom et al, 1956) and a notion of metacognition defined by Moseley et al (2004) to code and analyse qualitative data. The model was tested in a Pilot Study, substantially modified and then re-tested in a Main Study. The key findings generated from this indicated the importance of task, role and norms in the IL pedagogical process and that the new model for delivering IL teaching and learning via a blended approach engendered higher order thinking in particular analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Data also indicated four discrete levels of information discernment which suggest a possible format for the structuring of an evaluation of information assessment rubric. It is envisaged that this new model has a broader application beyond Higher Education (HE) and Sport & Exercise. Whilst the study has a number of limitations it can be concluded that the research undertaken here provides a significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge in IL, IB, learning and e-learning scholarship. However, it is recognised that any apparent solution is only provisional in a rapidly developing information landscape and, as a consequence, a number of future avenues for research are recommended.



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© Geoffrey Lee Walton

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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