Working Together: Librarian and Student Collaboration Through Active Learning in a Library Eclassroom
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Active learning strategies based on several learning theories were incorporated during instruction sessions for second year Biological Sciences students. The instructional strategies described in this paper are based primarily on sociocultural and collaborative learning theory, with the goal being to expand the relatively small body of literature currently available that discusses the application of these learning theories to library instruction. The learning strategies employed successfully involved students in the learning process ensuring that the experiences were appropriate and effective. The researchers found that, as a result of these strategies (e.g. teaching moments based on the emerging needs of students) students’ interest in learning information literacy was increased and students interacted with information given to them as well as with their peers. Collaboration between the Librarians, Co-op Student and Senior Lab Instructor helped to enhance the learning experience for students and also revealed new aspects of the active learning experiences. The primary learning objective, which was to increase the students’ information skills in the Biological Sciences, was realized. The advantages of active learning were realized by both instructors and students. Advantages for students attained during these sessions include having their diverse learning styles addressed; increased interaction with and retention of information; increased responsibility for their own learning; the opportunity to value not only the instructors, but also themselves and their peers as sources of authority and knowledge; improved problem solving abilities; increased interest and opportunities for critical thinking, as a result of the actively exchanging information in a group. The primary advantage enjoyed by the instructors was the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues to reduce the preparation required to create effective library instruction sessions. Opportunities for further research were also discovered, including the degree to which “social loafing” plays a role in collaborative, active learning.