Saturday, December 20, 2008

Teaching EBL, part 2

I begin where I left off, and will hopefully move forward. I ended my last posting by asking whether we even understand librarians' information behavior, and that this question has led me to a reworking of the syllabus and my own dissertation research question.

In syllabus creation I find it best to recursively echo objectives, in a progressive, perhaps kaleidoscopic way: how does this look from here? - does this aspect of the model appear to jibe with this new perspective? If a key part of the course objective is "to reflect on the experience and model for EBLIP as a way to bridge the gap between research and practice," assignments and discussions must continually encourage reflection, rather than compliance with the model for practice.

I am thinking this through as I write. With so little known about our practices, does in-class reflection truly serve the purpose of evaluating the model? Or rather, doesn't it ask for individual (or at best, small group) reactions - rather than a more structured approach that also incorporates what is known about the larger population? But if the purpose of EBP is to support the practitioner, and if I am trying to teach individual practitioners (as opposed to teaching researchers who wish to advance their research agendas), perhaps it is the individual and their reflective discourse that is key, so that the objective is bridging the research-practice gap as an individual practitioner.

If this is the case, then the intended take-away for the class might be an individualized toolbox, suited to each participant's area of practice, together with an appreciation for the translational issues within and across areas of practice.

Now, back to a consideration of whether the current syllabus moves us toward that goal. You know what I love? - that in teaching about EBL, I cannot myself avoid the model for its practice. It seems to me that the base and framework and process, the research support and evaluation, also need to be constructed using the best evidence, following the very model I am attempting to disseminate.

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