Adult User Education

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Course Description

This class will cover information literacy education for the adult user in the academic and public library settings. Information from the latest research and teaching ideas will be utilized, and projects and assignments will be geared toward program planning for adult instruction.

Additional Information

This semester we will be working together to learn about how to create instruction for the adult user, and we will be experimenting with ways to plan for implementing these programs in a library setting. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you as well as learning from each of you, since I know that you will bring experience and insight into our discussions and activities. I would describe my teaching style as constructivist with connectivist aspects. Constructivism is a learning theory that has been around for some time and it’s basic premise is that learner’s “construct” knowledge through experiences and interaction with a community of learners. Connectivism is a somewhat newer learning theory that has followed the emergence of the Internet as a prominent feature of our lives. George Siemens is considered to be the foremost explorer of this concept and it’s basic theory is that we learn through feeding information into networks as well as getting new information from networks in a cyclical fashion. The main needs for the learner in this theory are being connected to a network and being able to filter information in a manner that makes it valuable. Both of these theories are very learner-centered, and you will see that much of this course is structured around what you the learners can bring to the table. So, this semester I hope that we will be doing a lot of “networking” and sharing of information, ideas, insights, experiences, and creating new knowledge as a learning community.

Class Requirements


Cox, Christopher N. and Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay, eds. Information Literacy Instruction Handbook. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2008.

Additional Readings

There are additional readings in each module. Some of the readings are accessible via URL links, but others are academic journal articles, and/or chapters from books, and require the use of a library for access.

Blog and Discussion

This course utilized both a discussion board and personal blog for completing the Discussions and Activities. The use of free blog tools, such as Blogger or Wordpress could easily be used as a substitute. The instructor might set up a blog for group discussion, and then have each student create their own individual blog for the personal journal activities. The instructor could then supply links to these personal journals on the main blog, if so desired.

Technology Requirements

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Students will understand and apply the basic theoretical background of user education by:
  • Demonstrating an understanding of the history of and current position of user education within the library profession
  • Describing and explaining at least two aspects of learning theory and motivation for learning as applied to adult instruction
  • Discussing the various issues surrounding collaborating with others on instructional plans
  • Demonstrating an awareness of the different considerations surrounding diversity within the instructional environment
  • Demonstrating an awareness of current instructional technologies available
  • Exploring a variety of professional development resources in the area of user education
  • Developing a segment of instruction, including documentation, assessment plan, and materials required (including appropriate question analysis, search strategies, and appropriate instructional mode)

Students will understand the basic skills necessary to productively participate in the design, execution, and management of user education services, programs, and materials by:

  • Creating an adult education instruction program plan for a specific setting which will include:
    • An introduction defining Information Literacy and other relevant terms and the scope of the program
    • A history of instructional trends at the setting chosen
    • The goals and objectives of the program
    • The body of the plan for the program of instruction
    • Oversight and management of the program
    • A discussion of how the program will be assessed
    • The timeline for implementation
    • A marketing plan applicable to the type of setting chosen


Module 1 - History of User Education, Information Literacy Defined, and an Introduction to the Adult User

Module 2 - Adult Education: Teaching and Learning

Module 3 - Working with Others and within Guidelines

Module 4 - Program Design, Management, and Leadership

Module 5 - Diversity and Instructional Technologies

Module 6 - The Future of Information Literacy