Evaluates the evidence for and against the effectiveness of electronically delivered information literacy programmes in comparison with personal contact teaching. Shows that computer‐aided learning approaches to user education have great strengths but also undeniable weaknesses. The way to promote higher levels of information literacy in the electronic library environment is to increase the levels of computer‐led delivery, as long as this is done in such a way as to maximise the strengths of the format. This is best done in the context of an integrated virtual learning environment (VLE). Such an environment would promote information literacy synergistically as one of a suite of multiple electronic literacies that can be learnt alongside each other. Exploiting a VLE in this way would also facilitate the integration of information literacy into the broader curriculum. Computer‐based user education to date could be viewed as having been constrained by a need to imitate well‐established, tutor‐delivered user education methods. Without an ambitious programme of integration into larger scale e‐learning models, this pattern of constraint will continue.
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