Informed Learning

Informed Learning (2008), CARL, ALA, Chicago.

(extract from Preface)

Informed Learning envisions informed learning. Informed learning is using information, creatively and reflectively, in order to learn. It is learning that draws on the different ways in which we use information in academic, professional and community life; and it is learning that draws on emerging understanding of our varied experiences of using information to learn.

Indeed, we cannot learn without using information. It is recognising the interdependence between information use and learning that reveals the problem tackled in this book. Most of the time we take for granted that aspect of learning which we call information use. What might happen to the learning experience if we attend to it?

 Informed Learning examines research into the experience of using information to learn in academic, workplace and community contexts, that can be used to inform learning and learning design at many levels. It draws on contemporary higher education teaching and learning theory to suggest ways forward for a learning agenda that values the need for engaging with the wider world of information. In doing so, it offers a new and unified framework for implementing curriculum that recognises the importance of successful, creative and reflective information use as a strategy for learning as well as a learning outcome; and proposes a research agenda that will continue to inform learning.

Informed Learning reconceptualises information literacy as being about engaging in information practices in order to learn.  Based on the author’s work in developing the seven faces of information literacy, it proposes the need for teaching and learning to 1) bring about new ways of experiencing and using information, and 2) engage students with those information practices relevant to their discipline or profession.

This book is written for a diverse audience of educators from many disciplines, curriculum designers, researchers, and administrators. While this book both establishes a new approach to learning design and an associated research agenda, it is also intended to be practical. I have sought to ground the ideas in practice through:

  • using Steve and Jane as academics from different disciplines on a journey; experiencing the implementation of informed learning;
  • using examples from the literature and personal experience;
  • using reflective questions towards the end of each chapter.

In the book you will find many examples of how people experience information use as they go about learning in different contexts. The research reported here shows that as people go about learning they interact with information in different ways. They may be learning about a content area in a formal context, they may be engaged in informal learning as they go about their everyday work, or they may be learning through doing original research.

The emphasis on experience and ways of seeing comes from the work of researchers into student learning such as Ference Marton, Paul Ramsden, Shirley Booth, Michael Prosser, Keith Trigwell and others who have shown that, in order to help students learn, we must first be aware of how they experience those aspects of the world about which they are learning.

Chapter One is available via QUT e-prints

Related Publications

Bruce, Christine S., Hughes, Hilary E., & Somerville, Mary M. (2012) Supporting informed learners in the 21st century. Library Trends, 60(3).

Bruce, Christine Susan & Hughes, Hilary E. (2010) Informed learning: a pedagogical construct attending simultaneously to information use and learning. Library and Information Science Research, 32(4), A2-A8.

Yates, Christine, Partridge, Helen L., & Bruce, Christine S. (2009) Learning wellness : how ageing Australians experience health information literacy. The Australian Library Journal (ALJ), 58(3), pp. 269-285.

Bruce, Christine S. (2008) Informed learning : realising the potential of the information society in our 21st century world. In Abdullah, Abrizah & A. Cacha, Lleuvelyn (Eds.) International Conference on Libraries, Information and Society, 18-19 November 2008, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Publications by others

Diekema, A.; Holliday, W., Leary, H. (2011) Reframing information literacy: Problem-based learning as informed learning. Library and Information Science Research 33, 261-268.


Hilary Hughes’ Fulbright Fellowship
In 2010 Dr Hilary Hughes won a Fulbright opportunity to focus on, amongst other things, cultural diversity and informed learning. Some of her experiences are shared in her blog.

A paper describing her experiences is available here