ACRL IS Current Issue Discussion Digest – ALA Midwinter 2011

Affective Learning Outcomes for Library Instruction – should we, could we, and how would we?

Conveners: Robert Schroeder, Portland State University & Ellysa Stern Cahoy, Penn State University Libraries, University Park

Saturday, January 8, 2011 |  4 pm – 5:30 pm.
San Diego Convention Center – Room 05 B  |  San Diego, CA

Description / Rationale / Importance of Topic

Academic librarians develop many learning outcomes for their students based on the ACRL information literacy standards or the specific research needs of class assignments. For the most part these goals, or at least the goals that the librarian makes explicit to himself/herself and the students, are cognitive goals – knowledge or skills that are part of the research process. But Constance Mellon, Carol Kuhlthau and others have shown that library anxiety is prevalent in many students as well as expert researchers, and that students’ emotions, motivations, and dispositions, affective qualities, also play a huge role in the research process.

These affective qualities influence how willing a student will be to focus on and learn the research process and how resilient they will be when faced with the ambiguities and frustrations academic research can produce. While cognition is one facet of a person, students’ emotions and dispositions also need to be more fully acknowledged by librarians. Unless we perceive our students more holistically and their affective needs are met, they may never apply the cognitive skills we teach them.

Come to this session to discover what affective information literacy learning outcomes are and begin to think about their relevancy to your students. Discuss how to create appropriate affective learning outcomes for your library instruction sessions, how to teach to these goals, and how to assess if your students are learning them.

The session will be primarily interactive and will be grounded in the real-life practice and knowledge of the attendees. We will give a short introduction to affective learning within the context of information literacy learning outcomes at the beginning of the session to help define the terms and concepts we would use during the session, and at the end we will provide a short explanation of some librarians effectively incorporating affective learning outcomes in their classes.

Questions forming the basis for the discussion include:

    • How many librarians consciously acknowledge the emotional stages associated with the research process, create affective goals for their students, and develop their teaching sessions to meet these affective learning outcomes?
    • As librarian/instructors should we even be doing this or even try?
    • Are there models for identifying and addressing affective learning outcomes within the context of information literacy instruction?
    • How might we address (teach to) these affective needs of their students either inside or outside a classroom?
    • How can we effectively assess affective learning outcomes?

Recommended Readings:

Affect in general

David R. Krathwohl and Benjamin S. Bloom, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, The Classification of Educational Goals. Handbook II: Affective Domain (New York: David McKay Co., Inc., 1969)

Barbara L. Martin and Leslie J. Briggs, The Affective and Cognitive Domains: Integration for Instruction and Research(Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications, 1986)

Affect in the library

Ellysa Stern Cahoy, “Put Some Feeling into It! Integrating Affective Competencies into K–20 Information Literacy Standards,”Knowledge Quest 32, 4 (2004)

Robert Schroeder and Ellysa Stern Cahoy, “Valuing Information Literacy: Affective Learning and the ACRL Standards.” portal: Libraries and the Academy 10, ( April 2010)

Carol Collier Kuhlthau, Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 2004)

Constance A. Mellon, “Library Anxiety: A Grounded Theory and its Development,” College & Research Libraries 47, 2 (March 1986)

Diane Nahl  and Dania Bilal, Information and Emotion: The Emergent Affective Paradigm in Information Behavior (Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2007)

Writing Affective Outcomes, and Teaching and Assessing Them

Mary Miller, Teaching and Learning in the Affective Domain.

Barbara L. Martin, “A Checklist for Designing Instruction in the Affective Domain,” Educational Technology 29, 8 (August 1989)

Jacqueline Kraker, “Research Anxiety and Students’ Perceptions of Research: An Experiment. Part 1. Effect of Teaching Kuhlthau’s ISP Model,” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 53, 4 (2002)

Dale J. Vidmar, “Affective Change: Integrating Pre-Sessions in the Students’ Classroom Prior to Library Instruction,”Reference Services Review 26, 3/4 (1998)


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