Academic journal article LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal

Components and Factors in Integrating Information Literacy Instruction in Elementary Education Using a Virtual Learning Environment

Academic journal article LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal

Components and Factors in Integrating Information Literacy Instruction in Elementary Education Using a Virtual Learning Environment

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Information literacy enables a person's self-learning and knowledge acquisition. Information literacy should be developed at the elementary level since it forms the foundation of education, which aims to develop fundamental skills of thinking, reading, writing, etc. (National Education Bureau, 1999). Information literacy instruction should be incorporated in an education curriculum in accordance with curricular objectives and content, so that students can learn transferable skills in the context of each subject.

The Thai national policy has focused on improving the quality of its people to be ready for living in the knowledge-based society. Children must be prepared for the future society with strong basic knowledge along with life skills, information literacy, and lifelong learning skill. Therefore, information literacy is one of the learning outcomes at the elementary education level. However, a review of the literature shows that teaching of information literacy in elementary schools is not well designed or carefully implemented. There are no specific information literacy courses or information literacy development via other means. Information literacy might be taught integratedly in the regular courses, depending on the awareness and competence of each instructor (Saorayawiset, 2009). Teaching of information literacy in elementary education can be done via a full course in the curriculum, or integrating it into the regular course teaching. Integration of information literacy in course teaching can enhance the students' thinking and self-learning skills, in addition to information literacy skills (Maitaouthong, Tuamsuk & Tachamanee, 2011).

A virtual learning environment (VLE) is an online instruction environment with classroom structures simulating learning procedures of a normal classroom, face-to-face interaction, student participation in learning, independent learning, and ready access to various sources of information. Instruction is flexible and the learning environment is efficient (Bruce & Curson, 2001). Students are able to adjust and develop knowledge and understanding of the context according to their interest, enhancing their chances to develop skills, knowledge and understanding (Padmore, Hall, Hogg & Paley, 2006). The factors that support teaching using a VLE include ease of use, the relationship between the activities and the course content, space for making comments and providing feedback, features that support collaborative learning (Lyndon & Hale, 2014; Tiakiwai & Tiakiwai, 2010), and tools for communication and interaction (Small, Dowell & Simmons, 2012). In addition, a VLE has been found to help develop students' self-learning, increase the motivation of learners with learning difficulties, and create satisfaction in the learning (Barker & Gossman, 2013). It is desirable therefore to utilise the qualities and advantages of a VLE to create a concrete information literacy process to enhance learners' life-long learning traits.

This study aimed to investigate the components and factors in the design of a virtual learning environment to enhance the integration of information literacy instruction in course teaching at the elementary education level. This is the first phase of a project to develop a teaching model for integrating information literacy instruction in the learning and teaching processes at the elementary education level using a VLE.

LITERATURE REVIEW

From a review of the literature, the following conceptual framework for this research was derived.

Information Literacy Learning Outcomes

The aim or learning outcomes required in the development of information literacy programs were determined from the literature review. The American Library Association (1989), the Association of College and Research Libraries (2000), the Council of Australian University Librarians (2001) and many authors have given the same perspective on information literacy, which is defined as the individual's knowledge, ability and skills to efficiently obtain access to and use information in daily life. …

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