Library Committee Handbook

User Education Committee

February 10, 2003 Meeting

User Education Committee
University of Illinois Library

February 10, 2003

Library 428

Members Present

Members Absent

Chip Bruce - Guest Speaker - Inquiry Page

Allison Sutton introduced guest speaker, Chip Bruce. The committee members introduced themselves and shared their questions concerning inquiry learning with the group.

The group posed numerous questions regarding inquiry learning. The committee articulated that they were looking for a seamless learning model that could be applied across several curriculum areas, as well as a model that would ensure the basic competency of library skills. In addition, the committee wanted to know how one would teach using the inquiry learning model if one had to teach under time constraints or had specific professor expectations to meet. Further, the committee expressed an interest in presenting conceptual models during instruction while also allowing students to create their own models.

After this questioning period, Chip gave a brief introduction of his education and library and information science background.

An informal discussion of the inquiry learning process followed. Chip summarized the inquiry learning process as a model that finds ways to keep questioning and openness to learning alive. He stated that the inquiry learning model is not a new process. The goals of inquiry learning date back 100 years to the progressive education movement. Goals of that movement are still held in high esteem today. These goals include, but are not limited to, socially engaged intelligence and respect for diversity. Yet, with these goals in mind, the practitioners of inquiry learning recognize that one must teach and learn in a world full of constraints (systems and rules). Tools and rules are useful within the learning process, but are not endpoints within this cycle. Tools are only useful if we see that the learner has used them to become a more engaged learner.

Chip asked the committee if they had any questions regarding the application of inquiry learning.

Cindy S. asked Chip to elaborate on how inquiry learning could be applied when given time constraints. Chip stated that one has to look at learning in a developmental manner, meaning one not only has to look at the individual learner, but at professors, ourselves, and the surrounding community. This is a continual process.

Cindy S. also wanted to know how one could balance student exploration and basic skill development. Chip responded that one can maintain balance by engaging the thought process. He finds that by viewing learning on a continuum, rather than viewing it as a step by step process, one can see the overall picture more clearly.

The committee discussed several other issues regarding inquiry learning, including: limited resources, time restraints, quality and progression of reference presentations, professor expectations, teacher education, learning techniques, and learning outcomes.

In closing, Chip welcomed members of the committee to attend the weekly inquiry group meetings. The meetings are held every Tuesday at 5:00 in GSLIS room 131. Additional information on inquiry learning may be found at

Respectfully submitted,
Ely Anderson