"Evidence-based teaching is a growing international movement in education that encourages teachers and educators to seek out, appraise and apply the best evidence from the literature when confronted with decisions that affect learners digitally and in the classroom”
In an age of evidence-based practice, a trend that cuts across disciplines and professions, health librarians are asking themselves some fundamental questions about their work as information professionals, and their roles as educators within knowledge-based organizations.
Am I being evidence-based and purposeful in building a teaching programme in my organization?
How do I apply my years of experience as a librarian to the design of learning environments and training?
Do I have knowledge of educational theories and trends in adult learning? Can I apply these to various classes I am asked to teach?
Do I engage learners interactively, and stimulate learning quickly - or am I delivering content to passive recipients of my knowledge?
The exploration of teaching and its role in our work as librarians should include some discussion about our role in establishing an evidence-based culture within our organizations. If our teaching efforts are going to be successful, we need to develop better ways of understanding the shifting needs of our users in the digital age, and how much they are able to learn from us in short bursts of time.
What is evidence-based teaching (EBT)?
In reviewing existing definitions of an evidence-based approach to teaching, Booth identifies a list of consensually based characteristics of evidence-based practice:
context of day-to-day decision making;
emphasis on improving the quality of the professional practice;
pragmatic focus on the best available evidence;
incorporation of the user perspective;
acceptance of a broad range of quantitative and qualitative designs;
access, either first-hand or second-hand, to the (process of) evidence-based practice and its products (Booth, 2002, p. 54).
Other key questions
how can librarians position themselves in their organizations as key educators for the future
and, be empowered with educational credentials and competencies equal to that of their academic peers?
librarians are often ill-equipped to be teacher-educators-training experts - why? what skills are needed (Peacock, 2001)?
knowledge of educational theory and its practical application through course design; web 2.0 tools;
ability to write instructional goals and objectives;
ability to formulate an evaluation of instructional sessions for continuous improvement;
Implementation and assessment
The implementation and assessment of evidence-based teaching (EBT) for health librarians should include:
How can we design high-impact learning and teaching programs (HILT), and which are the most effective?
What types of evidence are needed to implement and assess our teaching?
How are educational theories used and applied in assessment?
Should health librarians examine evidence within their own and others' practices to reconstruct theory (personal theories and other theories)?
Can we improve our teaching efforts when we apply the ideas of others?
The theories and practice that underpin the scholarship of learning and teaching are important factors in practicing EBT.
Campbell Collaboration - establish some LIS presence in the electronic database of effects of social and educational interventions
decades of debate have occured in Medical Education, Medical Teacher and Academic Medicine
literature reports include controlled evaluations, but others are descriptive studies, cases
theoretical discussions of the principles, objectives and methods of medical education are also available;
library training inevitably involves teaching and learning by adults
review main principles of adult learning, how you can put them into practice in your library sessions and educational efforts
consider available evidence of effectiveness of different teaching methods
Adult learning principles
librarians have enhanced their understanding of how adults learn by iterative teaching, reviewing the evidence, and studying adult learning theory
constructivist school of learning is very popular
learners learn by active involvement in constructing their own knowledge, not by being passive recipients of information
central is problem-solving; learning occurs successfully when in context of actual problems; finding solutions to a 'tough' case
knowledge is more memorable when contextualized; where experience renders meaning to events
self-directed learning is often triggered by a teacher or fellow learner who provides scaffolding (Vygotsky, 1978)
other constructivist metaphors include bridging, providing a zone for optimal learning, building self-efficacy, competencies, etc.
other principles: learning takes place in democratic environments; structures that are egalitarian, non-hierarchic and non-authoritarian
Dewey (1938) said "teaching and learning should involve the preparation of learners for their active participation as citizens"
Knowles offers androgogical model; adult learning is driven by a need to know (purposive behaviours); learner's self-concept and experiences (what they bring to situations); an orientation to learning (problem-based learning)
When teaching millennials (Peacock, 2001), traditional talk and chalk doesn't work; she lists four elements in communicating such as be real, relevant and relational