Thursday, 11 March 2010

Reading: Information lliteracy: a neglected core competency

This is one of a number of interesting looking articles in the latest Educause Quarterly. It's a summary of what information literacy is and concludes a number of key findings:

1) That college students information literacy skills are underdeveloped.
2) Information literacy is essential for lifelong learning.
3) Students should be exposed to information literacy throughout education.
4) Collaboration by faculty, librarians, technology professionals can develop information literacy.

It's interesting that collaboration between these groups is highlighted rather than it being seen as the domain as a single group.

The article goes on to explain the deficiencies in college student's information literacy skills. The key findings (course readings and google are prime sources, reliance on professors for information rather than independent learning, google and wikipedia prevalent, and perhaps most worryingly, little interaction with libraries and librarians) will seem familiar to anyone working with first year undergraduates. The article points out that by "satisficing" (finding just enough information to complete the assignment) they are missing out on learning opportunities.

As well as defining "information literacy" as:

"...the umbrella term for emerging literacies such as technology literacy, media literacy, and health literacy." (Weiner 2010)

It also highlights Digital Media Literacy as "a critical challenge in education in the next five years" citing the 2010 Horizon Report from Educause as an important document in this field.

The paper then extols the virtue of introducing Information Literacy at elementary level - citing reports from employers that new employee skills are not good enough (although this finding is not referenced).

I think one of the important questions that this paper asks is how we can develop progressive development of information literacy throughout  education - making the links between educational establishments may be the difficulty.

Useful and brief summary with some useful references to follow up.


New Media Consortium, 2010. 2010 Horizon Report. Texas: New Media Consortium. Available: [Accessed 11 March 2010].

Weiner, S., 2010. Information literacy: a neglected core competency. Educause quarterly, 33 (1). Available from: Accessed [11 March 2010].

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