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Published by the Learning and Teaching Unit
Summer 2003
ISSN 1477-1241
Learning and Teaching in Action logo

Vol 2 Issue 2: Flexible and Lifelong Learning

LTiA home page

Brian Murphy

Lifelong Learning: the agenda and the response
Rob Halsall

Flexible Learning within MMU: Working smarter not harder
Fred Lockwood

"What the ..@#~* PDP* < $*|>.. is going on ?"
Trevor Williamson

How adults really learn- or what we think we know about how they learn!
Jane Artess

'Transformative' Models for Learning, Teaching and Academic Professional Development - A 'Self-ish' Approach
Shaheena Abbas

Developing a Departmental Employability Strategy
Chrissie Gibson

The eUniversity
David Lambrick

Skills for Lifelong Learning: A Progress Report
Louise Willmot

Professional Modern Apprenticeships
Vic Leyden

Lifelong Learning Means You Too
Hannah Peace

Faculty Learning and Teaching Reports

Learning and Teaching News from the Library

Learning and Teaching News from the Library

Independent Learning = Lifelong Learning:
The Library’s new Information Skills Project

Both academic and library staff are in the business of enabling students to become more successful independent learners. Students who are critical in their thinking, motivated and confident in managing their learning, and who have developed good research and information skills, will be much more able to take on the challenges of higher education and lifelong learning.1

This issue of encouraging students to be independent learners is at the very heart of the Library’s new Information Skills Project. It also builds on the JISC funded Big Blue Project, which surveyed current provision of information skills training for students in the FE and HE sectors and was managed by the MMU and Leeds University Libraries.2 The Library has always played an important part in supporting students in their learning, but we believe that we need to make an even greater contribution alongside our academic colleagues in developing students’ skills. Information skills are critical if we want to see students working independently.3

Good information skills will enable a student to recognise when they need information and develop a strategic approach to finding, using and evaluating information effectively. We know that students need such skills because of the enormous and ever increasing amount of information available to them through the Internet and electronic resources such as e-journals and subject databases. We also know that students in many cases don’t possess these skills. This is evidenced by their over-reliance on biased or unproven information found on the Internet.4

What our project aims to do is offer students the relevant skills to be able to find, use and evaluate information effectively and efficiently. We will do this by developing the library’s existing programme of presentations and workshops, and working closely with our academic colleagues make the sessions relevant to assignments.

To ensure flexibility we will also develop WebCT tutorials targeted at part-time and distance learning students. The last phase of the project is to run a pilot embedded Information Skills Programme using WebCT and traditional teaching with an academic department in order to test out the new resources created.

Initial feedback from academic colleagues at two recent Learning and Teaching events at the Faculty of Community Studies, Law and Education and the MMU Business School has been extremely positive, with staff clearly recognising the potential benefits to students and to themselves.

The project is being carried out by Lisa Jeskins, the Library’s WebCT developer and Jackie Murtagh. If you have any questions or would like us to be involved in any forthcoming Learning and Teaching events please contact tel. 6115.


  1. CANDY, P. (1991) Self-direction for lifelong learning: a comprehensive guide to theory and practice. Jossey-Bass.
  2. LEEDS UNIVERSITY, Library. The Big Blue (update on 14 January 2003, accessed on 19 June 2003).
  3. MARSHALL, L and ROWLAND, F (1993) A Guide to learning independently. Open University Press.
  4. GRIFFITH, J.R. and BROPHY,P. (2002) Student searching behaviour in the JISC Information Environment. Ariande, (10 October), (accessed 19 June 2003)

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.
Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.”
Chinese Proverb

Wm Johnston
telephone: 0161 247 3025


July 2003
ISSN 1477-1241

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