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Active Learning Activities for Online Information Literacy Tutorials

This guide contains a collection interactive learning activities than can be used within online information literacy tutorials. The activities are organized by ACRL's Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.

The information literate student selects the most appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval system for accessing the needed information

Activity Examples

Activity Ideas

  • Think fast

Provide an example of a information source and ask the learner to determine if the source can be found in the library (or with library resources) or the web.

  • How Does a Librarian Google?

Provide a topic and have the learner do a Google search for it. Then show a video (with narration) of how a librarian would do a Google search on the same topic. Ask the student reflect on what was different and what was the same using a checklist or text box. Provide meaningful feedback about the librarian's Google search.

The information literate student constructs and implements effectively-designed search strategies

Activity Examples

Activity Ideas

  • From a Research Question into Keywords

Provide a research question and have the learner click on the keywords in the questions. After the learner submits their answers, show them your choices and provide a rational for why you chose them.

  • Keyword Combos

Using one research question/topic, provide for the learner three combinations of keywords. Have the learner roll over or click on the sets of keywords to see how many results each combination got and show the combination that retrieved the "best" results.

  • Synonym Match

Provide learner with a set of terms, then have them match each term with its synonym.

  • Quiz Idea

To test the learner's understanding of how Boolean operators work, give them sets of keyword combinations and ask if the combination will return more or fewer results.

  • Don't Judge a Book by (Only) its Cover

This exercise will show learners the common features of a book. Have the learner roll over or click on different images from the various parts of a book to get a more detailed description of what that part of the book is and how it can be helpful.

The information literate student retrieves information online or in person using a variety of methods

Activity Examples

Activity Ideas

  • Work and Search

Provide a worksheet the learner can fill out (either in a new tab or window, or as a downloadable document they can print) while searching the library catalog. 

  • Does the Library have this Book?

Give the learner the title of a book and ask them to find it in the library catalog. Then have the student answer question about the book such as what is the call number? or what are the subject headings for this book?

  • Does the Library have this Journal? 

Give the learner a citation for a journal article. Using drag and drop, have the learner put the "steps to finding a journal artciles at the library" in the correct order. Provide meaningful feedback.

The information literate student refines the search strategy if necessary

Activity Examples

The information literate student extracts, records, and manages the information and its sources

Activity Examples

Activity Ideas

  • Quiz Idea

Provide a series of citations to the learner. For each citation, ask the learner to identify (click on) an element of the citation. For example, for one citation you could have the learner click on the publisher and for another, the name of the journal, etc.

  • Label the Citation

Provide a citation with the elements of the citation pointed to with blank labels. Have the learner drag and drop the label for the part of the citation into its correct place.

  • Citation Building Blocks

Provide the record item or title page from a book or journal article on the left side of the window. Have the learner drag and drop the elements from the record into a generic citation to "build" the correct citation (i.e "Author. "Title of the Article." Name of Journal. etc.) This exercise could be modified in many different ways.

  • Citation Clues

Provide the learner with high quality images or graphics representing different types of resources (web, book, journal article, etc.) Have the learner click on each resource to see how the citation for that resource will look. Using animation, point out which parts of the citation give you clues to determine what kind of resource the citation is describing. 

  • Quiz Idea

Provide the learner with a citation and ask him or her to identify what type of source the citation is referring to with multiple choice answers. Provide meaningful feedback.