Information Literacy & Learning
Select an area from the list below:
  • Information Age and Information Literacy
  • Resource-Based Learning: Approaches
  • Roles for Information Literacy
  • Partners for Information Literacy
  • Describing the Elephant: Internet WebQuest on Information Literacy
  • BUILDING INFORMATION LITERACY  
    Introduction Information Process Learning Outcomes Building Plans Building Site What's New

     

    RESOURCE-BASED LEARNING: WHAT IS IT?

    What is the connection with Resource-Based Learning? This educational approach is often referred to as the "manifestation" of information literacy, or one of the best ways to ensure the development of information literacy.

    The following definition of resource-based learning (from the APEF Foundation document for Language Arts) was accepted and used by the Committee...

    Resource-based learning actively involves students, teachers and teacher-librarians in the effective use of a wide range of print, non print and human resources. Resource-based learning fosters the development of individual students by accommodating their varied interests, experiences, learning styles, needs and ability levels. Students who use a wide range of resources in various mediums for learning have the opportunity to approach a theme, issue or topic of study in ways which allow for a range of learning styles and access to the theme or topic via cognitive or affective appeals. More

    Structured learning environmentResource-based learning is student-centered. Students are actively involved and more accountable for their own learning. Classroom teachers and their partners in education need to do much more than simply ensure access or provide the wide range of appropriate learning resources; they must ensure that the students' learning environment is properly structured, so that learning will occur. Skills for accessing, evaluating, using, and applying information are carefully targeted, ensuring that students meet the outcomes for information literacy identified in the approved curriculum and instructional programs. Learning is facilitated by teachers who understand their critical role, always promoting student involvement and interaction, and assessing learning in ways that ensure that more than simple content (or the "right answer") is learned. With this increased emphasis on the development of skills and strategies, (and on critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and creativity,) our students will be better prepared to become lifelong learners, capable of independent and informed decision-making.

    Resource-Based Learning and Teacher-Librarians

    Resource-based learning has been, and continues to be, a pervasive approach for teacher- librarians. This was evident in the P.E.I. Department of Education's School Library Policy (Circular 92-03):

    ... In today's rapidly changing society, students must have the opportunity to develop the ability to retrieve, assess, and apply information. As we equip students with these skills we will help ensure that learning does not end with the completion of formal education, but continues throughout life.

    These goals can best be achieved through resource-based teaching/learning, that is, a library program fully integrated with the school's instructional program with teacher-librarians and teachers using a cooperative program planning approach.

    Resource-Based Learning in the Atlantic Core Curriculum

    Resource-based learning is student-centered. Students are actively involved and more accountable for their own learning.
    Since resource-based learning, and ultimately, the development of information literacy, has become such an important component in the Atlantic core curriculum for the public education system, the responsibility for implementing this approach is shared by all educators. Teacher-librarians who are experienced in resource-based learning will provide support and offer to collaborate with classroom and subject area teachers who may be less familiar with the approach. Many of the outcomes for student learning are aimed at the development of information literacy. These will be best achieved when a resource-based learning approach is planned and implemented in a collaborative manner throughout the curriculum at all grade levels, across the school and formal educational experience of all students. Information literacy outcomes are not effectively developed in isolation, integration with the school's curriculum is essential.

    (N.B. View more about resource-based learning at this excellent Queens University website.)

    Information Literacy is clearly articulated in these Essential Graduation Learnings for Atlantic Canada:

    • Problem-solving
    • Communication
    • Technological Competence

    The P.E.I. Department of Education has also promoted another similar definition of Resource-Based Learning, from the province of Saskatchewan since the publication of the teachers' resource, Where Did You Find That? ( by Alixe Hambleton, 1992, Saskatchewan School Library Association and The Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit.) This resource is available in all P.E.I. public school libraries:

    Resource-Based Learning is a planned educational program that actively involves students in the effective use of a wide range of appropriate print, nonprint, and human resources.

    Many of the outcomes for student learning are aimed at the development of information literacy. These will be best achieved when a resource-based learning approach is planned and implemented in a collaborative manner throughout the curriculum at all grade levels, across the school and formal educational experience of all students.
    Regardless of the grade level or the subjects being taught, teachers know that the language arts are important, that students use these three strands for language acquisition and communicating information and ideas across the curriculum (and throughout life):

    • Speaking and Listening (S&L)
    • Reading and Viewing (R&V)
    • Writing and Other Ways of Representing (W&R)

    The Language Arts Curriculum for Atlantic Canada uses these three strands as a framework for the ten General Outcomes for student learning, using the language arts processes.

    In order to achieve the outcomes for learning identified in our regional curricula, it is clear that students need to have opportunities for exposure to and practice with ideas and concepts (knowledge,) skills and attitudes, in many contexts and for diverse learning needs, not just in language arts or English subject classes.

    These five General Curriculum Outcomes (GCO's) in particular, illustrate this new focus on the development of information literacy, and we need to remember that they are equally important in science, mathematics, social studies, as well as other subjects/curriculum areas:

  • GCO B
    communicate information and ideas effectively and clearly, and to respond personally and effectively (S/L)

  • GCO D
    select, read. and view with understanding a range of literature, information, media, visual, and audio texts (R/V)

  • GCO E
    interpret, select, and combine information using a variety of strategies, resources, and technologies (R/V)

  • GCO G
    respond critically to a range of texts, applying their understanding of language, form, and genre (R/V)

  • GCO I
    create texts collaboratively and independently, using a variety of forms for a range of audiences and purposes (W/R)
  • Building Information Literacy contains student learning outcomes for information literacy that emanate from all ten of the general learning outcomes in the Atlantic Provinces Education Foundation (APEF) Language Arts Curriculum.
    It should be noted that Building Information Literacy contains student learning outcomes for information literacy that emanate from all ten of the general learning outcomes in the Atlantic Language Arts Curriculum (APEF). As the Committee "de-constructed" these documents and re-ordered and re-constructed the many specific learning outcomes from all three language arts strand into the stages or phases of the Information Process, it became clear that the development of information literacy requires student-centered, inquiry-based learning activities that ensure these outcomes will be achieved. This was a challenging, constructivist learning process for everyone involved!

    What Does Resource-Based Learning Look Like?

    There are endless ways to implement a resource-based learning approach in the classroom or in the school library or in other educational contexts. When classroom teachers and teacher-librarians collaborate to plan, implement, and assess resource-based learning activities, they may decide to use one of many possible methods, including the following:

  • Resource-based Learning Centres or Stations:

    Cooperative learning is a key feature in resource-based learningPre-selected learning resources are assembled in one or more location, with clear directions for students to follow (re. skills, strategies, content, concepts.)

    Students access the centre(s) at times predetermined by teachers, individually or in small groups, and their learning is usually assessed through the use of teacher observations, answer keys, and/or product and process evaluation and reflective strategies. When teachers include a more "open-ended" approach, and higher order thinking skills are involved in the use, application and synthesis of information, students' learning may be very creative, individualized and satisfying. Cooperative learning is a key feature in this approach. When properly structured, it is rarely chaotic and very popular with students. They may complete an entire activity at a single learning centre or a number of centres or stations may be involved in the activity.

    Learning stations are an excellent way to orient students to the school library early in the school year or they may also be a good way to "launch" a topic or theme.
    This is a good approach when limited resources are available; it is possible to make optimal use of a few excellent resources when students work in pairs or in small groups. They may complete many stations over a period of several periods or days, or they may spend more time on just one or two stations or centres, depending on the objectives of the teachers involved. Some people plan for one station for each pair of students (i.e. 19 or 20 stations for 37 students,) including one or two extras so that there is always a "free" station available when a team of students is ready.

    Learning stations are an excellent way to orient students to the school library early in the school year or they may also be a good way to "launch" a topic or theme. Students will have opportunities to access and interact with multiple resources in a variety of formats and they should be encouraged to examine resource, including their organization and some of the content.

    This will be a definite advantage if a "project" or some other type of in-depth information processing activity is to follow. What better way to pick a topic for research or to gain some "prior knowledge" of a subject, or to develop a thesis question or begin a search for information sources?

  • Projects, Papers, and Other Information Processing/Authentic Research Assignments:

    Students have much to gain when they experience a consistent approach, beginning in the primary grades and continuing throughout their school years.
    Doing "research" may not be new, but its importance in today's classrooms is unquestioned. There is a renewed emphasis on inquiry or problem-based learning activities. A lot has been learned about properly structuring this type of resource-based learning for success, and students and their teachers will only make optimal use of this approach when time is taken to plan and implement truly "authentic" and meaningful projects. We may turn to the work of Kulthau, Eisenberg, Pitts, and others, proving that a research (or information) process or framework is essential. Students have much to gain when they experience a consistent approach, beginning in the primary grades and continuing throughout their school years.

  • World Wide Web-Based Projects:

    More teacher-librarians are discovering that the Internet can be a useful tool for resource-based learning. Online software and special sites like Filamentality, are being used by these educators to create online projects for their students.

    WebQuests focus on using information, not just looking for it!The WebQuest is becoming a favoured approach, moving resource-based learning into the electronic learning environment. WebQuests needn't exclude information in other formats, in fact the best WebQuests are those that "scaffold" or structure students' learning to ensure they access, evaluate, and use appropriate information, regardless of the format or source! The following overview of this approach was developed by former P.E.I. Education's Information Technology Facilitator, Michelle (McQuaid) Dodds: More

    Whether you are using an email connection with other learners or implementing a fully developed WebQuest with your students, it is important to remember that "doing an Internet project" should never be the sole purpose for students, the Internet should be an interactive and exciting tool they use for individual or collaborative inquiry and problem-solving, and for creating knowledgeable and creative products; sharing their own learning with others.

    "Doing an Internet project" should never be the sole purpose ... the Internet should be an interactive and exciting tool they use for individual or collaborative inquiry and problem-solving.
    Three elementary schools in Prince Edward Island have been involved in another Web-based project during the 1997-98 and 1998-99 school years. The Islands Project has focused grade five students' information literacy skills on learning what it means to "be an islander." As a part of their social studies program they began with studying their own local "island communities," using a vast array of primary and secondary resources in all formats (print, non-print, electronic, community people and organizations.) These resource-based learning activities were integrated with their school library programs and different approaches were taken by the schools and their teacher-librarians. Two schools used learning stations as a way of organizing the information processing component. Students became "experts" about one of the topics in their class studies and shared their learning with others in their classrooms and in their school communities. The third school utilized a "scrapbook" approach with their in-depth study of local communities organized in the pages of the individually created collections.

    WebQuests... using the resource-based learning approach in the electronic learning environment.All three schools were supported in publishing their students' work to the World Wide Web; two schools (Parkside and L.M. Montgomery) used Zebu Web-based software, the third school, Vernon River, completed their 1999 project using HTML programming to publish their project. Students at Vernon River in the first year of the project (1998) created and published Islands Project using Zebu.

    Throughout this project there was an emphasis on interaction in the learning environment; students were expected to communicate with others in their own cooperative working groups as well as those in the other two partnering schools. They also communicated using E-mail (or discussion boxes within Zebu) with students in other North Atlantic "island places" such as Newfoundland, the Isle of Skye, and Iceland.

    More information about the information process can be found in Part 2 of this document, "The Heart of Resource-Based Learning: The Information Process.

    You may also wish to select one of the following articles for further reading:

    Building Information Literacy Return to Top