Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning

In today’s global economy the industrial society has been replaced by the information society and as the Prague Declaration states:

 

Information Literacy encompasses knowledge of one’s information concerns and needs, and the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, organize and effectively create, use and communicate information to address issues or problems at hand; it is a prerequisite for participating effectively in the Information Society, and is part of the basic human right of life long learning.

Although this has been declared a basic right there are several assumptions that affect this right:

  • information literacy is learnt through osmosis 
  • information literacy is covered by or is the same as information technology (ICT)
  • as technology improves access to information will become easier and therefore negate the need for information literacy
  • information literacy is an updated version of library skills and is therefore related to printed sources 
  • with the emergence of electronic sources and e- literacy and media literacy this negates the need for information literacy.

 

These assumptions influence ‘practice, including the priority attached to’ information literacy and also ‘constrain acceptance and uptake’ of information literacy skills learning objects / material [1] . The reality is that any learning of these skills that has taken place has been implicit rather than explicit and either patchy or non existent resulting in poor or inadequate levels of information literacy skills [2]


 [1] Bill Johnston and Tony Anderson (2005). Information literacy and study skills An overview of research for LT Scotland Available from www.ltscotland.org.uk/informationliteracy/images/overview_of_researchv2_tcm4-285566.pdf [Accessed 23 March 2007]

[2] McLelland & Crawford, 2004; Irving & Crawford, 2006; Andretta, 2005

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