Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Development of information literacy of university students as a support for solving authentical science problems

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.01.00  Social sciences  Educational studies   

Code Science Field
S281  Social sciences  Computer-assisted education 

Code Science Field
5.03  Social Sciences  Educational sciences 
higher education, information literacy, problem-based learning, e-learning, university studies, natural sciences
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (14)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  20263  PhD Alenka Baggia  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2014 - 2016  276 
2.  08784  PhD Tomaž Bartol  Social sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2016  276 
3.  04566  PhD Bojana Boh Podgornik  Natural sciences and mathematics  Principal Researcher  2013 - 2016  818 
4.  12090  PhD Danica Dolničar  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  170 
5.  20448  PhD Vesna Ferk Savec  Social sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2014  401 
6.  04810  PhD Saša Aleksej Glažar  Social sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2016  1,228 
7.  15380  PhD Mojca Juriševič  Social sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2016  706 
8.  22598  PhD Mirjana Kljajić Borštnar  Social sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2016  371 
9.  16437  PhD Andreja Pucihar  Social sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2016  416 
10.  20934  PhD Blaž Rodič  Social sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2016  190 
11.  15223  PhD Irena Sajovic  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  70 
12.  13962  PhD Andrej Šorgo  Social sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2016  734 
13.  28798  PhD Boštjan Šumiga  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2016  82 
14.  08957  PhD Margareta Vrtačnik  Natural sciences and mathematics  Researcher  2013 - 2014  866 
Organisations (6)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  64,890 
2.  0586  University of Maribor, Faculty of Organizational Sciences  Kranj  5089638018  10,160 
3.  0588  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Education  Ljubljana  1627082  31,336 
4.  1555  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engeneering  Ljubljana  1627074  20,201 
5.  2547  University of Maribor, Faculty of natural sciences and mathematics  Maribor  5089638051  17,436 
6.  2784  Faculty of Information Studies in Novo mesto  Novo mesto  3375650  4,080 
For the success of individuals and society as a whole, in particular three key competencies are needed in the twenty-first century: the ability to use new emerging technologies, to participate in a process of lifelong learning, and to select relevant information from large data sets. In order to facilitate problem solving skills, a new vision of scientific literacy is needed, which integrates scientific literacy and information literacy (IL), with up-to-date information and communication technologies. An important contribution towards the uniformity of IL in higher education institutions is the introduction of standards and criteria developed by renowned organizations, such Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, with authorized Slovene translation. Despite the efforts made to integrate IL standards into higher education, students are often developing IL skills superficially, without the ability to use them in solving authentic problems in their specific academic fields. IL competences and skills often remain at lower cognitive levels, which does not permit the application of higher cognitive categories of knowledge, such as the use of knowledge, analysis, synthesis and evaluation – the levels that are necessary to solve real problems in the face of multidisciplinary challenges. In an effort to deepen and expand IL skills beyond a general perspective, the project group will develop and evaluate a new educational model (PBL-IL), suitable for upgrading the IL of students in university science programmes. The model will integrate IL competency standards into problem based learning (PBL), and it will be implemented on a selected learning management system, such as Moodle or Sakai.  To achieve this objective, the project foresees the following tasks: (1) determination of the IL and scientific literacy of students at the beginning of their university courses, (2) development of a new PBL-IL model, designed by the integration of IL competency standards into a PBL approach, (3) implementation of the PBL-IL model in a suitable e-learning environment, and the preparation of original e-learning materials, adapted to the students' fields of study, (4) monitoring and evaluating the impact of the PBL-IL model on students' success in solving problems, their self-efficacy, motivation, and self-concept, (5) identification of key elements of the PBL-IL model which influence the performance of students in solving problems, (6) development of new concepts in education by applying the PBL-IL model, (7) generalisation of the PBL-IL model, and the development of proposals for effective implementation of PBL-IL in the global higher education area. Well developed scientific information literacy, obtained through solving authentic study problems, will better qualify students for solving real life problems. We also expect that in the long-term, scientific IL will contribute to improved study results, increase the employability of graduates, and shorten the average duration of study, which in Slovenia is still too long, resulting in a loss of intellectual potential in the years when human creativity is usually at its highest. The designed PBL-IL model and e-learning materials will be available to students and professors of education, informatics, and science subjects, and to librarians at university libraries, as model examples of teaching units, which could be used in their own educational materials for the enhancement of students' scientific IL. The project will be implemented in cooperation of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, Biotechnical Faculty, and Faculty of Education at the University of Ljubljana; Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Faculty of Organizational Sciences at University of Maribor, and Faculty of Information Studies in Novo mesto. All together 12 highly qualified researchers from complementary research disciplines will cooperate in the project realization.
Significance for science
The project results represent an original scientific contribution in basic research in the field of education, specifically in the field of research of information literacy (IL) in higher education: (1) The study provided an insight into the IL of students in Slovenia, and identified areas with a shortage of IL knowledge and skills in relation to the IL standards in higher education. The average student success in IL test was 66% (n = 987); IL increased over the years of study. Students were less successful in advanced search strategies in databases, which require a combination of knowledge, understanding and logic, and in the topics of intellectual property and ethics. (2) The relationship between IP students and the use of information and communication technologies was studied. Correlation and regression analysis showed that the generation of digital natives is not automatically information literate, and the IL should be systematically promoted through programs that include active learning approaches and promote higher cognitive levels, in accordance with the standards of IL. (3) Effectiveness of three IL learning approaches was compared: classical learning, project- and problem-based learning. Both active learning methods were significantly better than the classical approach, particularly in areas with a shortage of IL knowledge and skills, and in achieving higher cognitive levels of IL. (4) The study revealed influences of science literacy (SL) to the IL, and demonstrated a positive correlation between the SL and IL of students, especially in the context of higher cognitive levels that are needed to solve problems in natural sciences. The study showed that a well-designed university program of IL with active learning methods accelerates the progress of less successful students and contributes to higher achievements and higher cognitive levels in IL of all students. (5) The effects of selected psychological factors on the level and progress in IL students was studied. Regression analysis revealed that 20% of IL can be explained by psychological variables. Variables that contributed to IL were academic self-concept, academic interest, autonomous motivation and the use of metacognitive strategies. (6) A contribution to science are also new measuring instruments: a newly developed test of information literacy of students (ILT) and the questionnaire on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) [COBISS.SI-ID 1575772]; a modified PISA test for the evaluation of scientific knowledge [COBISS.SI-ID 1577820], and a questionnaire on self-esteem, motivation to study and use of meta-cognitive learning strategies for students - SPUMM [COBISS.SI-ID 10426953]. (7) The scientific results were published in 13 original scientific papers, 12 published scientific contributions at the conferences, 9 abstracts of scientific contributions at the conferences, and 1 chapter in a monograph.
Significance for the country
In the international arena and in Slovenia, information literacy (IL) addresses an important part of higher education; it affects the design of the study process, its contents, teaching approaches, management of study programs, and consequently improves knowledge and skills of graduates, their employability and success in the information society. In 2010 Slovenia published the document Merila in kazalci informacijske pismenosti v visokem šolstvu (ZBDS, 2010; ACRL, 2000). In our project the ACRL standards were used for the preparation of study materials for students, to design and carry out study courses using different learning approaches, as well as a guide to develop a new IL test for students. The latter was used, in combination with other measuring instruments, in the group of 987 students from seven faculties of the University of Ljubljana and Maribor, and the Faculty of Information Studies in Novo Mesto. The research results gave an insight into the IL of students in Slovenia, and identified areas with a shortage of IL knowledge and skills. An average student success in IL was 66%, indicating a satisfactory level, with a room for improvement. According to the project results, we recommend the following measures: • introduction and implementation of a mandatory, credit evaluated IL course, designed in accordance with the IL standards and performance indicators; • practical training of students to work with advanced search techniques in bibliographic and other databases, accessible in higher education environments; • educating students to better understand economic, legal and ethical aspects of the acquisition and use of information, including the issues around intellectual property (copyright, piracy, plagiarism, protection of industrial intellectual property rights in the forms of patents, trademarks and industrial designs); • linking IL contents with academic tasks, and with solving professional problems, which requires multidisciplinary approaches connecting study fields and the information science; • enrichment of the study process by project and problem-oriented assignments that promote understanding, application of knowledge, critical thinking and innovative problem solving; • in future, more attention has to be focussed on the study environment, that will be motivating for learning IL, with professional-didactic aspects in terms of content, methods and forms of learning and teaching strategies, interesting for the digital generation, and psychological-pedagogical aspects in terms of observing motivational characteristics of students, their development and learning needs. The findings of this research project have been regularly presented and published in Slovenia, e.g.: Are Slovene students information literate? [COBISS.SI-ID 1572188]; Development of higher cognitive levels of information literacy in university education of scientific and technical informatics [ID 1544028]; Using ICT for study purposes and its impact on information literacy of organizational sciences students [ID 7508755] Analysis of the information literacy of students from seven Slovenian faculties according to the ACRL standards and performance indicators [ID 11101769]. Achievements, experiences and knowledge were transferred to graduate [ID 22501640, 1585500] and doctoral students [ID 1253214], and applied in their working environments. Another contribution represent new measuring instruments in Slovenian language: the IL test [ID 1575772], the science literacy test [ID 1577820], and the questionnaire on self-esteem, motivation to study and use of meta-cognitive learning strategies for students - SPUMM [ID 10426953]. The new or adapted instruments are available to researchers and students in Slovenia. The same applies for the newly prepared bibliographic styles, created within the project, which can be used by students for an effective preparation of references and citations in the IL study programmes [ID 1560156, 1585500].
Most important scientific results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
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