The Library Learning Path is an information processing model developed by Bernadette Bennett, Kerry Gittins and myself, with the support of an innovative group of Newcastle Teacher – Librarians. It encourages responsible, critical and purposeful use of information by students.
Connect & Wonder
What do I already know? What do I need to know?
This first step provides an opportunity for students to connect with their learning. This is a time for students to establish, and possibly share with the class, their existing knowledge on a topic. They will interrogate their research question, or if required, construct their own. It is a time to define terms and build keywords.
The skills of questioning and concept mapping are often developed at this time. It may be that the teacher, in collaboration with the students, formalises the learning intention and teaching program after they have an opportunity to connect & wonder.
Discover & Learn
Where can I find this information? Is the information necessary? How do I record this information?
This is the core research step. Students are required to locate, select and organise their information. Students will develop an ability to identify keywords for searching and use these effectively across the internet and OPAC systems. They will be encouraged to search across a range of resource formats and they will develop the skills to evaluate the resources found.
It is important that during this step the students refer back to the learning intention of the lesson and redirect their research if required.
Create & Share
Who is my intended audience? What tools could I use? How do I share this work?
Having gathered their information students must now consider how to share this knowledge. This may be a decision the teacher has made and students simply present their information as required. However, this step can be a wonderfully creative time, with students exploring new ways of presenting information and finding one that best suits their targeted audience. It is a perfect opportunity for students to develop the 21st Century skills of decision-making and skilled communication. The students will often see this as the fun part! It is also a great time to explore new technologies.
Reflect & Rethink
What did I learn? What did I do well? What could I do better?
Reflection on the progress of a task should be occurring formally and informally throughout the learning process.
As a formal step in the learning path, reflecting and rethinking at this point is more about evaluating the learning experience as a whole. Students will be encouraged to recognise the new skills they have learned and consider where these might be used again. They might consider their personal work habits and identify areas of growth as well as areas to improve upon.
We made a conscious decision to have a 4 step process as simplicity, especially for younger students, was a focus. However, we realised that as student skill levels evolved and the complexity of tasks increased, a path with greater depth may be required. To meet this potential need, two optional steps were developed – Synthesis and Take Action.
What are the key ideas? What does it all mean? What are the links and themes emerging across the information? Is this information answering the task? What do I still need to find out? What are my conclusions, decision, opinions?
The process of synthesising the information becomes important as students begin to draw on a broader range of resources when researching and as tasks are created incorporating higher order thinking and a new meaning needs to be given to the information gathered. As students move into upper primary and high school, this ability to meld information together is crucial.
How will I use what has been learned? How can we use what has been learned to bring a positive change to a situation?
This step supports the 21st Century skill of ‘real-world problem solving’. It gives authenticity to their work, encouraging the students to use the knowledge and skills developed throughout the program to make a real difference in the world. This step takes the Library Learning Path from being an information process to being a true inquiry model.