Learners with Low Self-Efficacy for Information Literacy Rely on Library Resources Less Often But Are More Willing to Learn How to Use Them
Keywords:distance learning, information literacy, motivation
AbstractA Review of:
Tang, Y., & Tseng, H. W. (2013). Distance learners’ self-efficacy and information literacy skills. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 39(6): 517-521. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2013.08.008
Objectives – To determine whether there is a relationship between self-efficacy (i.e., confidence) regarding information literacy skills and self-efficacy for distance learning; and to compare the use of electronic resources by high and low information literacy self-efficacy distance learners and their interest in learning more about searching.
Design – Online survey.
Setting – A small public university in the United States of America.
Subjects – Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in one or more online courses. Most respondents were in their twenties, 76% were female, 59% were undergraduates, and 69% were full time students.
Methods – Students were asked six demographic questions, eight questions measuring their self-efficacy for information literacy, and four questions measuring their self-efficacy for online learning. All self-efficacy questions were adapted from previous studies and used a one to five Likert scale. The response rate was 6.2%. Correlational analysis was conducted to test the first two hypotheses (students who have higher self-efficacy for information seeking are more likely to have higher self-efficacy for online learning and for information manipulation). Descriptive analysis was used for the remaining hypotheses, to test whether students who have higher information literacy self-efficacy are more likely to have high library skills (hypothesis three) and are more interested in learning about how to use library resources (hypothesis four). Among respondents high information literacy self-efficacy and low self-efficacy groups were distinguished, using the mean score of information literacy self-efficacy.
Main Results – There was a significant correlation between self-efficacy for information seeking and self-efficacy for online learning (r = .27), as well as self-efficacy for information manipulation (r = .79). Students with high information seeking self-efficacy were more likely to use library databases (28.72%), while low self-efficacy respondents more often chose commercial search engines (30.98%). However those respondents were more likely to be interested in learning how to use library resources.
Conclusion – Distance students with higher self-efficacy for information seeking and use also had higher self-efficacy for online learning. It is important to encourage such self-efficacy since studies have shown that it relates to better information literacy skills and a higher ability to be self-regulated learners. Confident learners process information, make effective decisions, and improve their learning more easily. Furthermore many respondents in this survey had little or false knowledge of how to use appropriate resources for their learning needs. This points to the need for effective library instruction. This study also shows that low self-efficacy students would like to have library instruction, especially to help them plan specific research assignments.
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