Reflection for learning: understanding the value of reflective writing for information literacy development Pamela McKinney firstname.lastname@example.org Barbara Sen email@example.com
Research context• Level 3 Undergraduate students studying Business Intelligence at the Sheffield iSchool• 13 students in total on the module, 9 agreed to take part in the research• Students learn about the value of information to business in terms of supporting strategic decision making• Weekly 2 hour sessions featuring lecture, inquiry and practical activities
Assessment• 60% of the module mark: a group project to investigate a real business information problem proposed by a business partner client • 20% of the module mark: a reflective analysis of their contribution to the group exercise (800 words)• 20% of the module mark: a reflection on their personal information literacy development through module activities
Module Learning Outcomes• the types of, and channels for, information preferred by businesspeople• purposes for which external information can be used within the organisation• to understand models of information use within business• to identify environmental factors affecting businesses and the need to gather information about them• to identify key types of business information• to search selected business information sources effectively• to locate, collect, analyse, and synthesise information retrieved from a variety of sources into a client report• [for information management students] to relate this learning to what students have learnt about information management and knowledge management in modules earlier in their studies
Research aims and objectivesAims: To explore the relationship between reflective writing and information literacy development through a qualitative analysis of students’ reflective writingObjectives•To map reflective comments made by students onto the information literacy landscape to understand where students feel IL development has occurred•To investigate using models of reflective practice how deeply reflective students have been on the aspects of information literacy expressed in the seven Pillars model•To investigate the value of the Seven Pillars model as a tool for supporting teaching & learning in Information literacy•To investigate the extent to which module learning outcomes related to IL development have been met
Conceptual BackgroundModels of Information Literacy Models of Reflection
The SCONUL 7 PillarsStudents were invited to Use the 7 Pillars as a framework for structuring their reflective writing on their information literacy development
Support for reflective writing• Students have a 2 hour workshop timetabled as part of the module activities to build competencies in reflective writing• Look at definitions of reflection and why it is important in professional practice• Introduced to models of reflection and levels of depth of reflection• Gain some practical experience of reflective writing
What is reflection?• “Reflection provides an active and structured way of thinking and of facilitating professional development.” » Schon (1983)• With this idea of reflection, reflection is not just an abstract concept; it is dynamic (“active”), and practical (“thinking and facilitating”), giving a framework (“structured way”) for professional change and development.
Models of reflection: Jenny Moon1. Descriptive writing – Descriptive and contains little reflection. May tell a story but generally from one point of view.2. Descriptive writing with some reflection – A descriptive account that signals points for reflection while not actually showing much reflection. What little reflection there is lacks depth.3. Reflective writing (1) – Description, but it is focused, with particular aspects accentuated for reflective comment. Shows some analysis, some self‐questioning.4. Reflective writing (2) – Clear evidence of standing back from the event. Shows deep reflection. Self‐questioning, and the views and motives of others are also taken into account. Observation that learning has been gained.
The Reflection Dynamic – Sen (2010) What change is needed? How will the change be achieved? Reflect on the success of any change.
SEA‐change Model of Reflection Context, data, information and knowledge
SEA‐change model of reflection – evidence at the heart Sen & Ford (2009) CHANGE (behaviour, needs, learning, situation)
Methodology • Analysis of reflective writing to explore relationship between IL & reflection• Looking for evidence that Learning Outcomes had been met and that teaching had been effective• Analysed depth of reflection across aspects of IL covered in 7 Pillars model: mapping the IL reflective landscape• Looking for evidence of reflective practice corresponding to Jenny Moon model & SEA‐ change model
•Storing & sharing information (U) Recognise a need for information (A)•Different ways of presenting information (U) Take personal responsibility (A)•Summarising information (A) Background information (A)•Analyse & present (A)•Synthesise (A) Identify available search tools (A)•Communicate (A) Matching information to Identify information need (A) Using new tools (A) Present Scope INFORMATION•Need to keep LITERATE PERSONsystematic records (U) Manage Plan (A)Has ability to (U) Has understanding of Range of search techniques (U) Difference between different Gather search tools (U) Evaluate Using different search strategies (U) Search techniques (A)•Critical reading (A) Using specialist tools (A)•Choosing suitable material for search topic (A) •Collaborative tools (U)•Assessing quality, accuracy, relevance (A) •Difference between free &•Critically appraising & evaluating findings (A) paid for resources (U)
The information literate person Pillars Understanding of Ability toIdentify •Recognise a need •Take personal responsibility •Identify background informationScope •Identify available search tools •Matching information to information needs •Using new toolsPlan •Range of search techniques •Search techniques •Difference between different search •Using specialist tools tools •Using difference search strategiesGather •Collaborative tools •Difference between free and paid sourcesEvaluate •Choosing suitable material for search topic •Assessing, quality, accuracy, relevance •Critical reading •Critical appraisal evaluative findingsManage •Need to keep systematic recordsPresent •Storing and sharing information •Summarise information •Different ways of presenting information •Analyse and present •Synthesise •Communicate
Examples of evidence from reflections mapped onto the SEA‐change modelSEA‐Change Model Student reflectionsSITUATION I believe that recognising the need for information is one of the hardest aspects of searching for Information. If I dont fully understand what the topic is or what I am looking for then I am unable to effectively identify an information need. When searching for information for the businesses intelligence group work I was faced with a challenge. (Student 1)EVIDENCE I have learnt about information sources I didnt know existed, which proved useful in researching businesses and markets. I wouldnt have without the business intelligence module. (Student 1)ACTION I feel I could have put more effort into searching for more reputable sources …I need to focus on this as a weakness in order to improve. (Student 1)
Back to the Reflection Dynamic What change is needed? How will the change be achieved? Reflect on the success of any change.
Back to the Reflective Dynamic PAST“As a group we felt the MINTEL of reports were greater importance so “I felt that the qualities I had referred to these learnt from being a mature sources more.” student and various (Student 3) employment positions added significance to our group.” (Student 5) PRESENT “I have learnt about information sources I didnt know existed, which proved useful in researching businesses and markets. I wouldnt have. I will definitely be using these sources more in the future.” (Student 1) FUTURE
Depth of reflection in “identify”Although this was achieved in a moderate My information needs, manner, I think grew as I first had to learn personally we should what a social enterprise 3 1have strengthened the was (IL8) 3explanation of the 1information need for the business, as on 3 1several occasions we Identify Prior to the interview I had to struggled to fully use this information and carry 3 out further research to expand understand the task 1 my knowledge of the that was set for us, company’s background and the 3resulting in later stages 2 E‐learning market. However, to go back to recognizing 2 viewing E‐learning from a the information needs of company’s perspective as the company. (IL6 ) product I was able to identify possible questions we could as during the interview to clarify the company’s business intelligence need areas. (IL7)
Depth of reflection in To begin with my strategy would “Scope”just involve a basic Google searchand in the process I found myself gathering the information solely from company websites; however I knew deep down that more 1sources would be needed. It 4 2would appear that I did not establish the correct sources for my need. I began to feel the 4 Scope 2pressure because the inability of me to find good quality information would have a direct effect on the overall quality of 3 2work I produced and therefore 3the group. I eventually changed my search strategy and began to search MINTEL after a fellow group member shared their success of using it with me. (IL3
Depth of reflection in “Plan”I also should have perhaps constructed more 1 I used a basic 3 1complex searches plan to that used phrases 3 1 search for and the different other specialised 3 1 types of commands. It is information evident that my Plan 1 although search strategy 2 much was formulisation from the needs improving. I 1 2 same source. also learned that I I feel this need to be more 2 2 isnt a 2open minded negative when constructing thing as it search strategies worked. (IL1)and carrying out searches. (IL3)
Depth of reflection in “Gather” and “Manage” 3 1 To improve this area I would personally have liked to use more tools in which all of the group could have helped synthesize one document (a wiki). (IL6) 1 Gather 1 1 1 1I wasnt able to find the exact information as it required large Managepayments which wasnt 2 2feasible. (IL1) I have experiences of data and file lost while my computer has broke down….In order to prevent this happen to me again, I have found a software called DROPBOX which give me a instant synchronizing of my work and it has been working really great. (IL2)
Depth of Reflection in “Evaluate”I discussed certain Correct information quality issues of and good style of information with presentation are very my group, mainly 3 1 1 important for client, due to their 2 1 therefore I mostly relevance to the 2 look at the website research. This 1 layout to see whether resulted in some 2 they are formal or not information being 1 before I use the replaced or 2 Evaluate information source removed from the 1 from them. (IL2)presentation. I feel 2that I was 2respected for doing 2 2so, as it made for a 2 2 2 2more relevant and direct presentation with better quality information. (IL1)
Depth of reflection in In contrast, I believed “Present”that the report required a different approach. It required more formal and objective writing. In 4 1the report the 4 2information was organised in a 2structured way with 3 Presentthe appropriate evidence and 2 3citations. ….. On reflection, perhaps in 3 2some circumstances graphs and tables 2may have been more appropriate for the competitor analysis in the presentation.
How deeply reflective have students been?• Students could demonstrate that they had “ticked the box” in terms of meeting an element of a pillar without being very deeply reflective (Gather & Evaluate)• Some clusters of deep reflection (Scope & Present)• Deep reflections showed genuine growth in IL capabilities, negotiation & discussion with peers and ability to stand back from the events and identify changes for the future
Some thoughts on the 7 Pillars model• There are aspects of IL revealed by the reflections that are not fully expressed by the Seven pillars: e.g. the idea that information needs need to be evaluated and changed during an information search process, dependent on the information that is found.• When the students discuss comparing & evaluating information they often compare and evaluate the sources rather than the quality of the information content• There is no need to cover the breadth of all the pillars in one learning task, but there is a need to consider at programme level
Learning Outcomes (LO) for the Module INF304 Business Information. LO1‐LO8 are for the module as a whole. LO5‐LO7 are specific to this assignment – the written reflection. By the end of the modulestudents will have learnt:LO1 - the types of, and channels for, information preferred by businesspeopleLO2 - purposes for which external information can be used within the organisationLO3 - to understand models of information use within businessLO4 - to identify environmental factors affecting business informationLO5 - to identify key types of business informationLO6 - to search selected business information sources effectivelyLO7 - to locate, collect, analyse, and synthesise information retrieved from a variety of sources into a client reportLO8 - [for information management students] to relate this learning to what students have learnt about informationmanagement and knowledge management in modules earlier in their studies Learning Outcomes (LO)Student LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8(S)S 1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9
Student’s final reflections• On the tasks: “I have learnt about information sources I didn’t know existed…I wouldn’t have without the business intelligence module. I will definitely be using these sources more in future.”• Overall, I am confident that we have conducted a well processed project and have indeed added value to our business client…I hope they agree..!”• “I was able to learn the value of commanding a good understanding in gathering business intelligence.”• “ I felt we dealt well with the challenges encountered.”
Students’ final reflections• On Information literacy: “…SCONUL’s seven pillars of information literacy had a big impact on our report as we definitely thought about the different stages when planning out how we were going to collect and obtain the information we needed…”• On the role of reflection in IL: “I believe I have been aware of information literacy throughout my course, nonetheless, carrying out this reflective report has enabled me to further deepen my understanding. It has helped me understand the competencies and reflect on how I can become more information literate in future.”
Tutors’ final reflections• Models of IL and reflection are useful theories to underpin and explain practical tasks• The evaluation has helped identify where learning outcomes are not always achieved• The reflective approach helps us to consider how we might be able to improve our teaching and support our students more effectively• Identified a need to re‐write module LOs to more closely align with 7 pillars
Key messages• The seven pillars model has value in making explicit to students the breadth & depth of what we call “Information Literacy”• Models of reflection help make reflection more tangible for students and provide a framework for reflective practice• Reflective practice helps embed deeper learning and makes IL development explicit• The models of reflection and the Seven Pillars as used in this context seem to complement each other.
Summary – looking back at our aims and objectivesWe have: explored the relationship between reflective writing and information literacy development through a qualitative analysis of students’ reflective writing•The mapping of student comments onto the information literacy landscape revealed IL development has occurred in terms of their understanding and ability.•The models of reflective practice encouraged deep reflection in relation to IL•The Seven Pillars model was of value as a tool for supporting teaching & learning in Information literacy as identified in student reflections•The evaluation provided a means of assessing how well the module outcomes has been met in terms of the students’ IL development relevant and to the focus of the module – a business intelligence context.