embedded compared to an integrated approach to developing learning literacies

@crumphelen Hi Helen, this a belated reply to your Twitter question earlier asking about the distinction made between ’embedded’ and ‘integrated’.

This came about because librarians who have been working to promote the development of information literacies had been using the term 'embedded' as one of their evaluation criteria.

Embedded provision is characterised as running a session (lecture/workshop) as an official component of a scheduled curriculum. In all instances librarians run these sessions. Many librarians work with subject matter experts to contextualise these learning activities with subject specific content and tasks, but in the main they are distinct from the what is happening at the time in the core curriculum.

This prompted us to step back to consider how effective this practice was at promoting the development of information literacies. There are instances of librarians collaborating closely to enable the educator to take ownership themselves of the learning activity to design and run it in a far more richly contextualised way - using topical subject matter, problems and tasks to fully integrate the learning information literacies in a seamless way with the core curriculum, and in few areas this is being assessed and accredited part of the course. It's no surprise that when the subject matter expert takes the lead the students are far more interested and enthused - they more readily recognise the relevance and value of the literacies being promoted - and of course this is the same regardless of your flavour of literacies: information, digital, academic, social, media, etc. etc. - pointing to the need for a more holistic approach.

We felt that we needed to distinguish the 'integrated' form of practice as something we should be aspiring to achieve (even though it's very challenging) in order to truly develop learning literacies. Otherwise, the risk is that we end up patting ourselves on the back for achieving high levels of embeddedness when the reality is that there is all too often very little that is meaningful, situated or authentic about the learning taking place.

Hope that clarifies things a bit better. Thanks for the question :-) Joe

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