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Using professional standards to inform information literacy work

Using professional standards to inform information literacy work

Bedford, David (2015) Using professional standards to inform information literacy work. In: LILAC 2016 - Librarians' Information Literacy Annual Conference, 21st-23rd March 2016, Dublin. (Unpublished)

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Many university courses are funded or accredited by professional bodies who set out their requirements for the teaching and learning associated with the course. In the case of the health and medicine sectors, these requirements often encompass aspects of information literacy (General Pharmaceutical Council, 2011; HCPC, 2014; NMC, 2010). Key aspects covered include gathering information from varied sources, appraising the quality of evidence, disseminating new information and the application of information to professional practice. These same bodies also set out standards of conduct for their members, some of which also reference information literacy concepts (HCPC, 2008; NMC, 2015). Students are normally required to abide by these standards of conduct during their course and are made fully aware of the importance of abiding by them after graduation. The Royal College of Nursing appears to be the first of these professional bodies to publish a detailed set of competencies for their members specifically around the area of information literacy (RCN, 2011).

In addition to helping to frame discussions with academic staff regarding information literacy teaching/training, these documents have proven to have practical value in the design and delivery of sessions with students. They provide a means of ensuring that teaching and training are directly relevant to life beyond graduation, and help students to understand the value of “library sessions”. Use of professional standards help move beyond immediate information needs (such as finding references for an assignment) to the necessity of developing information literacy skills for employment after graduation.

Practical methods of using these standards in face-to-face sessions with undergraduate students have included:
• Use of professional standards as a topic for an information-search workshop – specifically helping student nurses to explore the meaning and implications of the Principles of Nursing Practice (RCN, 2010) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Code (NMC, 2015).
• Demonstrating the value of resources outside of the students’ usual comfort zone when it comes to information sources – specifically promoting the use of resources written for other professions to student paramedics.
• Reference to the standards within lecture-style sessions as a method of demonstrating the ongoing relevance and value of the knowledge and skills presented.

The sessions which have been developed as a result of investigations into requirements and standards have been well evaluated, with positive outcomes reported by academic staff which show that students have applied what they have learned.

Following a brief summary of the relevant professional standards and requirements, the paper outlines sessions informed by and based on these professional standards. This includes the development of the sessions as well as an overview of the content and how this is delivered in practice. Delegates will leave with the information and practical tools needed to put such sessions into practice.

Although the focus of the paper is on health and medical education, other professions have standards and requirements which could – and perhaps should – be used in similar ways.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Information literacy; health professions; higher education; libraries
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Information & Library Services
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Last Modified: 04 Jul 2016 15:09

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