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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 summarizes the main ideas to be extratced from the information gathered

Activity Example

Activity Ideas

  • Decoding an Abstract

Provide an abstract or item record with abstract for the learner to read. Have the learner answer specific questions about the information provided in the abstract such as what is the author's main argument? or what was the methodology used in the research? Provide meaningful feedback.

  • Elements of a Good Evaluative Annotation

Give the learner a series of evaluative annotations. For each annotation ask the student to check off what important elements are included in the annotation from the following list: summary of content; relevance to research topic; and authority of the source. 

The information literate student articulates and applies initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources

Activity Examples

Activity Ideas

  • Evaluating Websites

Give the student website to evaluate by having the learner click on a screen shot or computer screen to open up a webpage in a new window. Ask the learner to look at the page and then answer question about the website like who is the publisher? or what is the purpose of this website? Provide meaningful feedback on the answers given. 

  • Which Website is Best?

Provide the learner with a research question and ask them to choose among three websites which website would be the best one to use for their research project. Ask the learner to answer why they chose that website with multiple choice answers, fill in the blank, or a checklist. Provide meaningful feedback on these answers.

  • What's the Meaning of this? 

Provide the learner with a sample resource like a blog, webpage or book title page. Ask the learner pointed questions about the resource like what is the main purpose of this source?, who is the author?, and who is the audience?, etc. Provide meaningful feedback on the answers.

  • Create a Website

Provide a list of elements that could be included on a website such as date updated, author, images, etc. and an empty website "template" or empty box. Ask the learner to imagine they are creating a website for a new student group and ask them which elements should be included in their website to make it credible. Have the learner drag the elements into the website "template" or box. Provide meaningful feedback on their selections.

The information literate student synthesizes main ideas to construct new concepts

Activity Ideas

  • Developing New Ideas

Present the learner with two abstracts and ask the student to come up with a thesis statement by combining the two.

  • Draw a Logical Conclusion (Inductive Reasoning)

Present the learner with two statements and ask them to draw a logical conclusion from the statements and write it in a text box. Then have the learner see their answer in comparison to yours. 

The information literate student compares new knowledge with prior knowledge to determine the value added, contradictions, or other unique characteristics of information

Activity Example

Activity Idea

  • Compare and Contrast

Provide two contradictory abstracts and have the learner compare them by answering multiple choice questions, or a drag and drop exercise, about what the main arguments are, the methodology used, the conclusions, etc.

The information literate student determines whether the new knowledge has an impact on the idividuals value system and takes steps to reconcile the differences

Activity Idea

  • Would You use this Resource

Provide a thesis statement or research question as well as a list of sources. For each source, ask the student if he or she would incorporate that article into a research paper about the thesis statement. Remember to provide quality sources that argue against the thesis statement and provide meaningful feedback on the learner's answers.

The information literate student validates understanding and interpretation of the information through discourse with other individuals, subject-area experts, and/or practitioners

Activity Example

Activity Idea

  • Communication Idea

Embed a blog, discussion board, wiki or feed for students to discuss the tutorial or leave tips for other students.

The information literate student determines whether the initial query should be revised

Activity Ideas

  • Supporting Your Argument

Give the learner a thesis statement or research question. Then, give the learner a set of sources and have the him or her  choose the sources that best support the argument. Provide meaningful feedback on the learners choices.

  • What's Missing?

Provide the learner with an abstract and a list of sources that support the information in the abstract. Ask the learner to identify what kind of source is missing from the list. Ask the learner how they would find the missing source, what keywords they would use in the search, etc. You can use multiple choice questions or checklists to extract the answers. Provide meaningful feedback.