Study explores information-seeking strategies of recent graduates

One of the key ideas that has come into focus while drafting FHSU’s Liberal Education learning objectives is the idea of preparing our students for lifelong learning.  A recent study from the University of Washington Information School focused on the lifelong learning of recent graduates and their information seeking strategies.

According to Allison Head, the lead researcher, “Many of today’s college students are ‘strategic learners’ — they are good at answering professors’ questions, completing assignments, and getting high marks,” Head said. “But they’re not defining questions of their own, which may be the one critical thinking skill they need most after college.”

The study also suggested, that recent graduated also “struggled in self-motivation, communication skills, and task delegation, particularly with older colleagues.”

“As more and more college students are specializing in their majors so they are more employable, they are taking fewer courses in liberal arts, where general inquiry and problem solving are part of the curriculum,” Head said.

Several of the drafted Liberal Education learning objectives can work to strengthen these skills, such as:

  • Written and oral communication
  • Information and technology literacy
  • Inquiry and analysis
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Foundations and skills for lifelong learning
  • Teamwork and problem solving
  • Career and interpersonal skills

As Information and Digital Literacy Librarian at Forsyth Library at FHSU, I particularly found a related analysis from UW interesting,  focused “on the role of librarians in the lifelong learning process and how to create practical and relevant services that foster curiosity.”

Amanda Hornby, the UW teaching and learning program librarian and geography librarian, points out that libraries “can be part of the solution and proactively help students develop research and communication skills that prepare them for post-undergraduate life.”

As we finalize FHSU’s Liberal Education learning objectives, and move as a university towards program and course assessment plans, I can’t resist a bit of self-promotion and encourage you to remember that the librarians and staff at Forsyth Library are always eager to partner with faculty in planning, teaching, and assessing current and future learning objectives.



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