Informed Learning Workshop with Christine Bruce and Hilary Hughes

Christine Bruce and Hilary Hughes, both of Queensland University of Technology, presented a workshop about informed learning for an assortment of faculty and librarians from the Auraria and Anschutz campuses.

What is Informed Learning?

Christine defines it as the tandem process of learning a discipline and learning how to use information; "Informed learning is using information creatively, reflectively, effectively, and ethically in order to learn in any of life's paths." We will develop a "coffee curriculum" as a sandpit-Aussie for sandbox? :)

Some things to think about: how do you (personally) experience information, related to your personal and professional lives?

Six Frames for Informed Learning

The six frames are content, competency, learning to learn, personal relevance, social impact, and relational.

Example: teaching and ethics course in each of the six frames.

Content frame: lectures on key ethics content, librarian will provide tutorials; assessment will be based on testing knowledge and tools learned

Competency frame: provide a series of cases for evaluation; assessment will be based on the level of skill they have attained

Learning to Learn frame: students conduct research based on experience; assesment looks at the "quality of their interpretation of ethical issues"

Personal Relevance frame: creating portfolios and having students determine their own learning objectives; assessment on portfolios or similar projects

Relational Frame: learning outcomes; identify differences in your own and others views; assesment centers on students ability to "make use of different ethical lenses"

Social impact frame: similar to learning to learning, but with focus on society

Three ways in which students experience information acquisition: linear: find information and then use it; cyclic: obtain information, learn from it, obtain more, repeat; simultaneous: learning from information while working with it

Inclusivity and Informed Learning

Supporting different points of view; supporting multiple learning styles; learning ourselves from our students/multi-directional learning. Hilary has worked a lot with international students, and in her experience, informed learning can be a way to support a diverse learning environment and draw international students in.

Hands-On: Designing a Coffee Curriculum

I worked with Cindy Hashert, who is the head of Education, Research, and Information here at Auraria, and John Jones who is Head of Reference at the UCD Health Sciences Library, which was ironic because we all consume our caffeine cold. We were assigned the "Learning to Learn" Informed Learning frame.

What are students learning, and how?

Students are learning to create a great, aromatic, cup of coffee. We specified aromatic because the three of us know little about good tasting coffee. :)

What information practices are they using?

Students will use less formal research methods, such as visiting a Starbucks, a coffee cart in a library, a McDonald's, etc. The focus will be on experiential learning: how is coffee made, served, etc., in these different environments.

Information sources could be trade publications, cookbooks, etc.

How could academic librarians and others be working together?

Teaching how to find information about coffee in trade-type publications. Information about how to be a good observer/interviewer, and helping them develop rubrics (right word?) for their site visits. How to conduct research on topics where the information is more...ephemeral? than academic.


Assessment will be periodic. Make a cup of coffee at the beginning, and chart potential improvement and change over the term of the course. A peer competition at the end will be based on competition among classmates, but by assessing each student's cup against criteria developed collaboratively in the class.