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Do students retain information literacy training?

From the Journal of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (2007 2:4)
Evidence Summary
Skills Gained from University Library Instruction Sessions Are Perceived as Useful
Four to Eight Weeks Later

A review of:
Wong, Gabrielle, Diana Chan, and Sam Chu. “Assessing the Enduring Impact of Library
Instruction Programs.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 32.4 (July 2006): 384‐95.
Main results – Out of 133 workshops taught in the fall of 2004, 25 were included in the sample: 15 CS and 10 OW. The overall response rate was 68%, with 466 participants completing questionnaires. Most participants indicated that the workshops
were useful for learning about sources and search methods for finding information quickly. The majority (72.2%) responded that they felt an increase in confidence when conducting library research and slightly more than half (57.9%) agreed the workshops led to an increased interest in using the library. The responses differed significantly for the CS and OW groups: OW participants consistently rated the usefulness of the workshops higher than CS participants. In regards to retention of skills, 68.5% of participants responded in the affirmative when asked of they had continued using the skills taught, with rates ranging from 56 to 83% depending on the workshop. There was little difference in perceived retention between the CS and OW groups.
The skills most frequently identified as having been learned included the abilities to “form better search strategies” and “find better Internet resources.” Written feedback included remarks on reducing class size and length, and increasing practice time and the number of handouts.
Conclusion – A “delayed perception survey” revealed positive feedback from library workshop participants on questions about confidence, usefulness, and retention of skills learned. There was a significant difference in confidence levels reported between CS and OW groups, with OW participants reporting higher levels of confidence. The researchers surmise this might be a result of self‐selection, as OW participants volunteered both to attend the library instruction workshops and to respond to the survey questionnaire. The short questionnaire is an efficient tool for assessing the perceived usefulness of library workshops for both course‐integrated sessions and elective workshops.
Commentary: This study attempts to assess the quality of a university library’s instruction program in a given semester. Assessment on such a large scale is a difficult undertaking, especially considering the lack of validated standardised assessment tools available to librarians. The authors selected a reasonable method, the perception survey, to conduct their assessment. Their questionnaire is also made available in the publication, thus enabling others to adapt it for their own use. While this study makes a contribution to assessment studies of library instruction programs at institutions of higher education, it falls short in several areas. The convenience sample was not randomised, making it difficult to assume representativeness. In addition, there is no indication that the results of the survey are normally distributed, and that the 2 groups exhibit homogeneity of variance – requirements for parametric testing such as the t‐test employed. It is therefore questionable as to whether the results have any statistical significance. Also typical of many assessment studies is the absence of a control group or testing prior to the intervention. This also makes the results less conclusive. The article omits an explanation as to how class size was determined, placing into question any conclusions on the impact of class size on retention. It is also important to keep in mind the survey did not assess actual learning, but the perception of such learning. While the authors state that the survey assessed the “enduring impact” of the instruction program, further assessment is required to conclude that any long‐term learning has taken place beyond the four to eight week period. ”
So there you have it – they do remember what you teach them. Iit is worth it.
Read the whole works here.

Posted on: December 18, 2007, 10:54 pm Category: Uncategorized

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