Why students want simplicity and why it fails them when it comes to research

Why students want simplicity and why it fails them when it comes to research

Great little blog entry from 2008 about information literacy and library research. The author – an academic librarian – points out that students, as novice researchers, are out of their depth when it comes to grand projects. He uses the concept of Cynefin (love this word!) to talk about the gumption tramp that students get into when they are simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed by a research project. This article relates to something other librarians taught me a while ago about writing assignments that send students to the library. Assignments need to be specific and have context and purpose (i.e., the student’s purpose) or students get lost. Learning this changed my understand of information literacy from the mechanical/tool model (which most people still use) to the American Library Association competencies, which is a much more sophisticated and useful orientation. Their approach helps students break through cognitive load issues, work smarter not harder, and stay focused. I love librarians. I’ve never met a librarian who wasn’t filled with a spirit of service, sharing, and learning.

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