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Lowering students' anxiety during information skills training with active learning - Aurelie Gandour


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Presented at LILAC 2016

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Lowering students' anxiety during information skills training with active learning - Aurelie Gandour

  1. 1. Teaching electronic resources to students with computer anxiety Aurelie Gandour Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
  2. 2. Meet Jane… Jane is a typical (imaginary) student from theTavistock and Portman. She’s 40, a psychologist, and back at theTavi for a part-time course. Jane doesn’t like computers too much… She can doWord and email, but if asked to use software outside her comfort zone, she feels… uncomfortable. She would rather avoid using it than ask for help. She thinks she’s no good at it anyway, so when she tries, fails, and doesn’t ask for help, it only strengthens her negative belief.
  3. 3. Jane suffers from computer anxiety. Computer anxiety exists in various degrees throughout the population, ranging from being mildly uncomfortable in a specific situation to total panic. You’ve probably met people like Jane in your library too!
  4. 4. The catch is, computer anxiety has been linked to library anxiety. It prevents students from using many of the library’s electronic resources.And their negative thoughts (“I’m stupid, everybody knows this…”) will prevent them to ask for help. It’s a real problem during information skills sessions.Those students just nod along but don’t engage with the tool.
  5. 5. Let’s break the cycle! I’m going to show you my attempts at breaking this negative cycle… Note that we can’t « cure » the students’ anxiety (you would need some behavioural therapy). We’re just trying to lessen the symptoms or make the anxiety more manageable within the context of the specific resources we teach.
  6. 6. To do so, I’m going to mix through this presentation general advice found in the literature with active learning activities. I’ve tested those on my students and found it helped. Active learning means being involved in the learning process rather than passively listening to the teacher. It can involve simple activities, more complex games, and working in groups.
  7. 7. A positive learning environment The most important part, in my opinion, is to create a positive learning environment, and for the teacher to have a positive attitude. It’s great if you can ask one of your colleagues to come and help but… they need empathy.
  8. 8. A positive learning environment “Workshops absolutely can not and should not be staffed by people who insensitiviely think that those who lack basic computer knowledge are unintelligent or have learning disabilities, which will only worsen the users’ apprehension.” (Sivakumaran and Lux, 2011)
  9. 9. Encouraging questions The goal is to foster an environment that feels safe enough for the students to be able to ask their questions without feeling stupid.There are no stupid questions, only questions easy to answer! Remind them often that you want them to ask. And then… actually answer them. And be kind while doing so.
  10. 10. Now we’re going to talk about several activities that can happen away from the computer. It’s great to focus on the principleswithout the stress of the tool. I always try to have at least 1 computer-less activity in my sessions (but often end up with more).
  11. 11. Mapping out the resources Some students find it very reassuring to be able to make some sense out of the forest of resources proposed by the library. Mapping those resources out can be a great thing to do during an induction session.
  12. 12. Mapping out the resources For this poster activity, I give each little group a pack of information printed off the library’s website and ask them to map them out on a poster. Each group can have different resources. Then we go around and I correct anything that’s not completely right.
  13. 13. Purpose and benefits Laying out the purpose and benefits from a tool at the beginning of a session can be a great way to get students on board. Examples: * Discovery will search everything at once so you don’t have to learn to use every tool. * Short EndNote demonstration where I just make a bibliography appear out of nowhere….
  14. 14. The mechanisms behind Then we can start having a look at the mechanisms behind the tool before having to put them in application. Examples: how a thesaurus work, what’s an in-text citation, creating search equations…
  15. 15. The mechanisms behind This is a simple colouring exercise that helps you check, in about 30 seconds, if the students have understood how Boolean operators work.
  16. 16. The mechanisms behind In blue you can see actual results that can be found in a database. Above them is a search equation. Which results will you find if you use this equation? Great to check both on Boolean operators AND the importance of choosing good keywords.
  17. 17. The mechanisms behind Students are given a card with a slightly complex topic + puzzle tiles (field codes, Booleans, brackets, and keywords tiles).They’re asked to create simple, then more complex equations. This is best suited for more advanced groups.
  18. 18. Dipping their toes… At some point, you have to go back to the computer… But you want your anxious students to get there gradually, and to experience a first success so that they can gain confidence.
  19. 19. Dipping their toes… Still on paper, this a screencap from a real search done with the tool we’re studying.The search returned no results.The students (in pairs) are asked: why is this a bad search? How could you make it better? This ensures that they will know what to do if getting no results and won’t get discouraged…
  20. 20. Dipping their toes… Before they start on the tool on their own, I give the students worksheets going step-by-step through everything we’ve seen before. It’s important to go around and answer all their questions.The students can also write their process down and give the worksheet back at the end of class for further comments.
  21. 21. Reflecting on what was learned… At the end of the session, I always have at least one reflecting activity.
  22. 22. Reflecting on what was learned… After a session on the literature search, I love doing this “chimera” activity. I give each group some animal cards with a « search behaviour » (the panda relies on only one source of information, the spider only goes on the web…) + a template.
  23. 23. Reflecting on what was learned… And the students are asked to use scissors and glue to create a chimera that would have the best “search behaviour” possible. It helps them think through the way they search and how they could change for the better. So far, it’s always been a success!
  24. 24. Reflecting on what was learned… More traditionally, you can ask the following questions: - What was the most important thing you learned today? - What do you want to keep in mind while applying what we’ve learned? - Tell me about one problem you’re still worrying about.
  25. 25. Reflecting on what was learned… If your session ties in with a specific assignment the students have to complete, you can ask them to come up with a plan for what they’re going to do to finish their assignment. This can include: specific steps; the tools or techniques they will use; deadlines for each step.
  26. 26. Reflecting on what was learned… Same thing but a tad more simple: just ask the students to come up with 3 to 5 ways they are going to apply what they’ve learnt + deadlines for each of them. I get those forms back and send them back to the students a few weeks later with more help. That’s great to keep up with them and they often come back to me with more questions.
  27. 27. Reflecting on what was learned… Finally, this is the best way I’ve found to get quick feedback (only takes 1 minute). Ask for: - One thing you liked about the session; - One thing you disliked; - One thing you would like to know more about.
  28. 28. Providing support and help Once the session is over, you need to keep providing support and help… but most importantly you need to make sure that the students know it’s there and how to access it! If they are computer anxious, online help might not be the way to go.
  29. 29. Providing support and help During the session I always give printed handouts with step-by-step screencaps showing everything they need to do to repeat the content of the session. I’ve had great feedback on them!
  30. 30. Providing support and help The one exception to the “nothing online” rule: videos. I make little videos going over the content of the session, or demonstrating the tools again. It’s best to send students a direct link – they probably won’t look them up on theVLE.
  31. 31. Direct support If you can offer direct support after class, that’s great! If you’ve shown during the session that you’re open and approachable, they’ll come to you more easily afterwards.
  32. 32. - A teacher with a positive attitude - Stepping away from the computer - Understanding the mechanisms behind - Going there progressively - Reflecting on what they’ve learned - Providing support Here is everything we’ve been talking about…
  33. 33. Ben-Jacob, M.G. and Liebman,J.T. (2009) ‘Technophobia and the effective use of libraryresources at the college/universitylevel’, Journal of EducationalTechnologySystems, 38(1),pp. 35–38. Eastwood, L.,Coates,J., Dixon, L., Harvey,J., Ormondroyd,C. andWilliamson,S. (2009) AToolkit for CreativeTeaching in Post-CompulsoryEducation. Maidenhead:OpenUniversity Press. Jerabek,J.A., Meyer, L. S. and Kordinak, S.T. (2001) ‘“Libraryanxiety” and “computer anxiety:” Measures,validity,and research implications’, Library and InformationScience Research, 23(3), pp. 277–289. Jiao,Q. G. andOnwuegbuzie,A. J. (2004) ‘The Impact of InformationTechnology on LibraryAnxiety: The Role of ComputerAttitudes’,InformationTechnology & Libraries, 23(4),pp. 138–145. Rosen, L. D. and Maguire,P. (1990) ‘Myths and realitiesof computerphobia:A meta-analysis’,Anxiety Research, 3(3), pp. 175–191. Rosen, L. D., Sears, D. C. andWeil, M. M. (1993) ‘Treating technophobia:A longitudinal evaluationof the computerphobia reduction program’, Computers in Human Behavior, 9(1), pp. 27–50. Van Scoyoc, A. M. (2003) ‘Reducing LibraryAnxiety in First-YearStudents’,Reference &UserServices Quarterly, 42(4), pp. 329–341. Sivakumaran,T. and Lux,A.C. (2011) ‘OvercomingComputerAnxiety:AThree-Step Process for Adult Learners.’, US-China Education Review B, 1, pp. 155–161. Walsh,A. and Inala, P. (2010) Active LearningTechniques for Librarians: Practical Examples, Chandos Information ProfessionalSeries. Editedby R. Rikowski.Oxford:Chandos Publishing. More information… The Bible! Great paper!
  34. 34. Slide 1: Photo by Mike Peel - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License Slide 2: Photo by Brittney Bush Bollay - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial ShareAlike License Slide 3: Photo by Sharon Sinclair - Creative Commons Attribution License Slide 5: Photo by Oleg Sklyanchuk - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License Slide 6: Photo by clement127 - Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike License Slide 7: Photo by -Snugg- - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License Slide 9: Photo by jinterwas - Creative Commons Attribution License Slide 10: Photo by kjetikor - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License Slide 11: Photo by Bradley Wells - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License Slide 13: Photo by Anonymous Account - Creative Commons Attribution License Slide 14: Photo by Ame Otoko - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License Slide 18: Photo by Alisa - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License Slide 21: Photo by Freddie Alequin - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License Slide 28: Photo by r. nial bradshaw - Creative Commons Attribution License Slide 31: Photo by John Earl - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License Slide 32: Photo by Kristian Niemi - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial ShareAlike License Slide 35: Photo by 55Laney69 - Creative Commons Attribution License Attributions for the pictures used in this presentation
  35. 35. Thank You and Good Luck!