I recently read an article in University Affairs, co-written by my university’s new president that calls for more emphasis to be placed on learning than teaching. I think there is merit in this argument, but there are implications for library instruction as well as regular classroom instruction.
I’ve been lucky to be involved in inquiry courses (social sciences inquiry, arts and sciences inquiry) that place the emphasis on the learning and questioning process. Even the classrooms have been designed differently, so there is no front of the classroom, no sage on the stage. With the emphasis on questioning and research, I am able to do more with the students in terms of research skills – it’s not the standard rushed one shot library instruction session. While inquiry is not the only method to emphasis learning, it has offered me opportunities that other instruction librarians may not as easily achieve.
If universities moved to learning-based curriculums, rather than teaching-based curriculums, what would the impact be for library instruction, if any? What if all classes were inquiry based, problem based, or some new form of learning style? Would there be a huge impact? Many librarians already incorporate active learning in instruction, which would presumably align with learning-based curriculum ideals. I would hope to see more integration of research skills into programs and less one-shots, but librarians are actively moving in that direction as well. I believe that learning-based rather than teaching-based universities might offer us some new opportunities and am still trying to discern what these might be.
What are your thoughts ? I’d love to know! Is your library instruction learning-based or teaching-based? How would you fit it into a learning-based curriculum? What would a learning centered library session look like? Do you see much difference for your instruction if the change were made?