Information Seeking Behavior of Distance Learners: What has Changed in Twenty Years?

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academic library use, distance education students, Information seeking behavior, off-campus students, online students


© 2020, © 2020 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Studies from many parts of the world report the success and concerns librarians face when connecting online with the universities’ off-campus students. This 20-year review attempts to determine the extent to which academic libraries around the world serve the information needs of graduate students enrolled in distance-learning programs and to examine their information-seeking behaviors to ascertain how these students access material for their online courses. The analysis consisted of determining the (1) frequency of library use by off-campus students, (2) students’ level of awareness, (3) students’ seeking assistance strategies, (4) students’ use of services and sources, and (5) success in meeting students’ needs and satisfaction. The data resulting from these investigations indicate that, in general, students at a distance are relatively satisfied with the services and resources their university library is offering, although the majority of the students prefer to utilize other sources of information before they seek assistance from a librarian or venture into searching the library’s website. Engagement with the library could be a key factor positively influencing students’ learning experience, which might contribute to the library’s, and thus the university’s, reaching its goals and ultimately, its mission. Challenges for meeting student’s needs and satisfaction level are also described in this literature review.

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Journal of Library and Information Services in Distance Learning





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Library Sciences