With higher education shifting its emphasis from teaching to learning and inputs to outcomes, active learning techniques are gaining prominence. Research has shown that students learn better when they actively engage the course content, rather than passively absorb lecture material. However, many faculty are unsure of how to take advantage of these new techniques to improve the learning outcomes for their students. For one active learning technique, problem-based learning, librarians are well positioned to facilitate its adoption into course curriculum. In order to effect a high-quality problem-based learning experience, a true collaboration of efforts needs to take place between the subject faculty and librarian. In such a synergistic system, information skills are integrated directly into course content, while an engaging active learning experience for students is facilitated. This article describes the background and history of problem-based learning, explaining why information skills are an integral part of the technique. The authors then detail the experiences of librarians at Purdue University, both in forming collaborations with subject faculty, and in the development of problem-based learning instructional modules.

Published in:

Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, 34, Spring 2002

Date of this Version

December 2002