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What is the Role of Immersion?

Many Information Literacy models and Inquiry Learning models have been designed around the concept of pupil driven learning. Students were given a broad topic and then expected to choose some aspect of interest for researching. A problem with this approach is that students with little or no prior knowledge in the broad topic often had great difficulty in deciding on an aspect to research. It was like standing on a beach, looking at the sea, and trying to decide what might of interest when one didn't have a clue what was out there.


Models were then designed to include an immersion stage that allowed students time for some general exploration so they could become familiar with broad aspects of the topic and would then have some basis for making choices in terms of what they want to pursue in their own inquiry. This enabled the students to get immersed in the topic, see what some of the options are and thus have some foundation on which to make their choice. In these models immersion was an explicit part of the process.



A growing number of models have dropped the immersion stage because those models now have a different approach. Many of these newer models supply the students a task or problem that requires the development of a solution. These models don't need an immersion stage because as soon as the student creates one question to research about the problem, issue or need they have started a journey which will immerse them in the subject. Immersion is actually an implicit, rather than an explicit part of the process.

For both approaches immersion happens, either as an explicit or implicit part of the process.