Embedding information literacy into the health curriculum. Success!
Type of snapshot
- Policy or strategy for learning literacies
- Provision in the curriculum: skills/literacies addressed in topic module
What was the context for this snapshot?
This snapshot looks at the Faculty of Health Pre Registration (DiHE/BSc Nursing; Operating Department Practice; Midwifery) and involves a structured series of information and research skills and tutorial sessions across the three years of the course. The first year comprises of 3 one and half hour sessions which cover Induction; Information Skills; and Problem Based Learning Exercises. This steps up a level in the second year with an in-depth two hour research skills session and is complemented in the third year with a tailored drop in session to support the research skills module. The aim is to encourage independent students who will have developed life long learning skills in terms of literature searching and evidenced based practice.
The first year of study includes 3 personal development weeks, which was the original opportunity to embed skills in the programme and curriculum. The success has led to this strategy being given further acknowledgement within the programme and is now a compulsory part of study. One of the tasks which the students have to complete as part of their on-line Faculty Personal Development weeks is to reflect on activities in the first 2 Personal Developments weeks and also write a short piece designed to be advice to new students and it was very rewarding to see students posting on-line around the skills they have learnt and advice to new students is to get organised and use the library resources as these are vital research materials and the more you access them the more confident you will feel.
What kind of learners were involved in accessing this provision or support?
The Faculty of Health student profile within Pre Registration is a mix of 18-21 undergraduates but with a higher level than the norm, of mature students who have varying levels of ICT skills. Most students come with little or no previous experience of information skills or searching for evidenced based information.
What skills or literacies were particularly being addressed?
The aim of the strategy was to develop and embed the Information Literacy Framework throughout the three years of their programme. As the student progresses skills covered include, information and search skills, retrieval skills, critical thinking skills, evaluation, communication and discussion skills which are developed by PBL, and reference management skills. By products of the strategy have been increased ICT skills and use of the VLE.
Who provided the support? How was support provided?
Support was initially provided by staff within the Information and Research Development Division this was followed up by the teaching staff at the end of module, using the VLE to create discussion. The first assessed module for Pre Reg students is a literature review. The skills sessions provided in Years 2 and 3 are staffed and supported by Information and Research Development Division in face to face sessions, with follow up one to ones on request. As the sessions are provided within the Pre Reg timetable and co-ordinated with academic staff and teams, attendance is high as students see the sessions as a key part of the curriculum. The work across the years is staff intensive as the students will attend face to face within a timetable, therefore sessions being undertaken throughout the day when 300 students attend.
Benefits, outcomes, and lessons learned
Feedback from students has been excellent and they have expressed the benefits the sessions have had in improving ICT skills and access to resources. Increased use of the VLE Increased skills in information and retrieval Developing relationships and support for Pre Reg students Improved collaboration with academic staff and Solstice Fellows Increased awareness of learning services resources eg increased use of health e-resources
It did take some time to develop relationships with academic staff. This involved attending team meetings; curriculum planning; re-validation meetings and programme boards in order to build relationships and promote the strategy, however as the strategy has now been adopted this approach has been extremely worthwhile.