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Religious information literacy: using information to learn in church community


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Paper by Lyndelle Gunton, Christine Bruce & Ian Stoodley at RAILS7, 10 May 2011

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Religious information literacy: using information to learn in church community

  1. 1. RAILS7<br />Religious information literacyusing information to learn in church community<br />Authors<br />Lyndelle Gunton | Christine Bruce | Ian Stoodley<br />CC Image courtesy of Leonard John Matthews on Flickr<br />
  2. 2. Information literacy<br />Informed learning is...<br />“a way of using information to learn”<br />Christine Bruce, “Informed Learning”, 2008.<br />RAILS7<br />
  3. 3. Research goals<br />Discover and describe the different ways members of church community experience informed learning<br />Explore variations between these experiences<br />Identify tangible ways in which awareness and use of information can enhance learning experiences in church community<br />RAILS7<br />
  4. 4. What is a church community?<br />Religion as social phenomenon<br />Religion as theological concept<br />“A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, i.e., things set apart and forbidden--beliefs and practices which unite in one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them.”<br />Émile Durkheim, 1912. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, Book 1, Ch. 1<br />“The church is... Christ existing in community“<br />Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1954, Life Together<br />RAILS7<br />
  5. 5. Relevant literature<br />Contemporary IL research in community contexts (Bruce, 2000; Lloyd, 2005; Partridge, Bruce & Tilley, 2008; Yates, 2009 )<br />Research in learning & church community (Harris, 1989; Seymour, 1997)<br />Research in Christian education (Everist, 2002; Littleton, 2008; Saines, 2009)<br />Research in IL & church community (Wicks, 1999; Teske, 2002; Brunton, 2005; Delamarter, 2005; Phillips, 2007; Lambert, 2010)<br />RAILS7<br />
  6. 6. Research methodology<br />Phenomenography<br />Research focus = variation in experience<br />“both process of construction and <br />a process of discovery.”<br />Christine Bruce, 1997, The Seven Faces of Information Literacy, p. 103<br />RAILS7<br />
  7. 7. Data collection<br />Semi-structured interviews<br />Purposive sample taken from Uniting Church in Australia<br /> (14 interviews)<br />Question 1: Describe your experience of using information as a member of the church community.<br />Question 2: Describe your experience of using information to learn as a member of the church community.<br />Question 3: Describe an experience you’ve had of using information to help others to learn in the church community.<br />RAILS7<br />
  8. 8. Data analysis -categories of description<br />Informed learning is experienced in church community as using information to learn about:<br />Growing faith<br />Developing relationships<br />Managing the church<br />RAILS7<br />
  9. 9. Informed learning in church community is aboutgrowing faith<br />“A lot of those songs will possibly speak to me more than the sermon that evening if there’s a really good song in there because I will go away singing that for the rest of the week and you’ll be singing it... and can sort of reflect on that.” (Int.2)<br />Kinaesthetic<br />Personal study <br /> & reflection<br />Group discussion<br />Formal education<br />Artistic expression<br />Approaches to learning<br />Text<br />Audio<br />Visual<br />Digital<br />Spiritual<br />Forms of information<br />RAILS7<br />
  10. 10. Informed learning in church community is about developing relationships<br />“I actually probably think of the relationships that we made with people above the knowledge that it gave me of the Bible. There were people there that we would never have met. They go to the early morning service and they've become really good friends... just got to know other members of the congregation at a really personal level.” (Int.7)<br />Approaches to learning<br />Planned activities-<br />pastoral care<br />Informal activities-<br />Kinaesthetic<br />Web 2.0 technologies<br />Forms of information<br />Audio<br />Visual<br />Digital<br />RAILS7<br />
  11. 11. Informed learning in church community is about managing the church<br />“I actually find often conversations that happen informally inform me of a lot more because people are much more willing to be a lot more honest in verbal conversations than they are through the printed report.” (Int.4)<br />Approaches to learning<br />Text<br />Audio<br />Digital<br />Visual<br />Spiritual<br />“As an extrovert, I learn best outside of my head. So, as much as I think dynamically inside my head, I then need to bounce that off people to understand and, I guess, qualify my own thinking and so the divergence of the process is really beneficial to me in a sense.” (Int.1)<br />Forms of information<br />Listening<br />Personal study<br />Group interaction<br />RAILS7<br />
  12. 12. Informed learning in church community may also be about…<br /><ul><li>Responding to religious knowledge
  13. 13. Service to the church community
  14. 14. Mission beyond the church community</li></ul>RAILS7<br />
  15. 15. Research outcomes<br />Strong relationship between developing relationships and growing faith<br />Suggestion of a preference for interactive learning through planned and informal conversation and discussion<br />Contrasts with current preference in church community to direct resources towards print and auditory delivery of information<br />RAILS7<br />
  16. 16. RAILS7<br />
  17. 17. Significance<br />Insights for church communities<br />Lay people<br />Church leaders and those in ministry<br />Greater awareness for information professionals<br />Church & theological libraries<br />Wider industry<br />RAILS7<br />
  18. 18. Future directions<br />Exploration of potential further research<br />Web 2.0 in the church community<br />Wider sample expanding into other Christian denominations <br />Broader age group<br />RAILS7<br />
  19. 19. In summary…<br />“The church should be that space where learning is a dynamic engagement of ideas, information and building a place where there’s an ability for people to have that an affirming kind of context. So, regardless of the questions, regardless of the direction a conversation might take, a course of study might take, an engagement with the world might take, it’s a space in which that engagement is valued.” (Int.1)<br />RAILS7<br />[All images used with permission from The Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod unless otherwise acknowledged.]<br />
  20. 20. Contact information<br />Lyndelle Gunton<br /><br />Information Studies Group<br />Faculty of Science & Technology<br />Queensland University of Technology<br />Twitter: lyndelleg<br />Professor Christine Bruce<br />Email:<br />Information Studies Group<br />Faculty of Science & Technology<br />Queensland University of Technology<br />Dr Ian Stoodley<br />Email:<br />Information Studies Group<br />Faculty of Science & Technology<br />Queensland University of Technology<br />RAILS7<br />