Research skills development through collaborative virtual learning environments

Stagg, Adrian and Kimmins, Lindy (2012) Research skills development through collaborative virtual learning environments. Reference Services Review, 40 (1). pp. 61-74. ISSN 0090-7324


Purpose - Studying at university today is a complex undertaking. Not only have the characteristics of the student cohort changed significantly in recent years, but the exponential growth of technological innovation has also impacted markedly on the study environment. Issues such as student transition and retention are receiving considerable attention, and the quality of learning and teaching has become an important consideration. While support for students from outside the faculty is still seen as useful, it is recognised that contextualised support facilitates deeper learning. This case study focuses on a virtual learning environment designed through collaboration between the Library, Learning & Teaching Support and the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Southern Queensland.
Design/methodology/approach - The implementation of the VLE followed a design-based research methodology focusing on an iterative approach which responded to student and staff feedback. An analysis of usage data, coupled with student feedback from reference interviews form the core of the information used to shape each evolutionary design cycle.
Findings - The results of two and a half years of usage data indicate that students from all disciplines within the Faculty of Business and Law used the screencasts embedded in the VLE as self-directed, 'just-in-time' learning resources. The qualitative comments reflect the advantages of presenting research skills tutorials in a visual format, with many commenting on a feeling of greater understanding and confidence with the research process.
Originality/value - The use of discipline-specific screencasts offers location-independent asynchronous learning support that can be dynamically created in response to student needs. Furthermore, it suggests that this type of reference support is more successful when produced through cross-Faculty and Divisional collaboration. This VLE is accessible to all USQ Faculty of Business and Law students, but it represents a transferable, achievable model for other institutions with distance learning cohorts.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Permanent restricted access to paper due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Australian Digital Futures Institute
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2012 00:33
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2015 01:40
Uncontrolled Keywords: screencasting; information literacy; academic learning skills; VLE; virtual learning environments
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0807 Library and Information Studies > 080703 Human Information Behaviour
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0807 Library and Information Studies > 080704 Information Retrieval and Web Search
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930203 Teaching and Instruction Technologies
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1108/00907321211203630

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