Monday, July 02, 2007

Article Note: On Expertise and Instructional Design

Citation for the article:

Frierson, Eric. "Instructional Design with Expertise in Mind (Part 1)" LOEX Quarterly 33.4 (Winter 2007): 4-5, 10.

The article provides an overview of expertise principles and how they apply to library instruction. The article is part one of a two-part series.

The author reminds us that we may be experts, but the students are not. So, we need to plan and teach accordingly. Much of the teaching is based on teaching to the point of need. There is emphasis on asking questions from students and then teaching to their needs. One way to do this is to use the concept of chunking, where you teach skills in small chunks. This means that students later on will be able to remember steps in the research process because they recall chunks of information. The idea is for the students to see research as a process, and then they recall what to do at specific stages of the research process. This is what you hope as an instructor will be happening:

"Later, when students are on their own, they recall skills in chunks. The search process is no longer one long sequence of clicks. They recall the broader stages of research, and then recall strategies they need for each one" (4).

I am particularly intrigued by the use of guided questions to review the sessions. I have always used a form of guided questioning to teach my sessions, but I am thinking I can take it a bit further if I conduct some review at the end of lessons as suggested in the article. It would make a good way to have a simple assessment of the lesson and what the students learned as well. I am thinking, for example, you can ask students:

  • Do you need to find an individual journal issue? Did your teacher give you a reference or you found one in your readings? (I actually get his a lot at the Information Desk). Well, in this case, show them how to use the (Find Journals By Title) tool.
  • Do you need to find articles on some topic? In this case, you show them how to select a good database and go from there.
The idea is to teach students to determine what they are trying to do and then select the right tool for the job.

Overall, the article is a short piece, but it has given me something to think about and a prompt to rework some of my lesson plans a bit more.

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