Tips on Teaching

Active Learning

Lecture and demonstration may not be the most effective ways to deliver library instruction. Students learn best when they are actively engaged in the class and can practice the skills taught. Types of active learning include collaborative learning (working in groups), problem-based or inquiry-based learning, discovery learning, and critical thinking.

Examples of Active Learning in Library Instruction

The sites listed below have suggested activities for active library instruction.

Suggested Readings on Active Learning

  • Bicknell-Holmes, Tracy and Paul Seth Hoffman. “Elicit, engage, experience, explore: discovery learning in library instruction.” Reference Services Review 28 (2000): 313-.
  • Macklin, Alexius Smith. “Integrating information literacy using problem-based learning.” Reference Services Review 29.4 (2001): 306-13.
  • Gibson, Craig. “Critical Thinking: Implications for Instruction.” RQ (Fall 1995): 27-35.
  • Hensley, Randy Burke. “Curiosity and Creativity as Attributes of Information Literacy.” Reference & User Services Quarterly 44 (2004): 31-6.

Learning Styles

It is important to use a variety of teaching styles in the classroom in order to support students’ various learning styles. Consider the needs of the following types of learners:

  • Auditory learners, who learn best by listening and speaking.
  • Visual learners, who learn best by observing.
  • Tactile learners, who learn best by using manipulatives.
  • Kinesthetic learners, who learn best when their whole bodies are involved in an activity.
  • Global learners, who learn best through cooperative learning strategies.
  • Analytic learners, who learn best with time to work and reflect individually.