Information literacy education

‘Information literacy education should create opportunities for self directed and independent learning where’ learners ‘become engaged in using a wide variety of information sources to expand their knowledge, construct knowledge, ask informed questions, and sharpen their critical thinking’.  [1]   

It can be used for cross-curricular areas such as:

  • problem solving
  • evidence based and problem based learning
  • specific objectives, activities, and tasks involving research
  • project work
  • inquiry work
  • planning and organising
  • reviewing and evaluating
  • making better use of resources
  • independent thinking and
  • enhancing learning.

It can also help with a number of information-specific issues of concern [2]:

  • problems of information overload
  • inappropriate use of Internet material
  • failure to evaluate and synthesise information
  • neglect of non-digital sources of information

 

To help with the above identified cross-curricular areas and problems there is a vast array of information literacy materials available

at all levels and sectors of education and lifelong learning which can be deployed for learning and teaching. The material can be used across all subject areas / themes and can be easily integrated into a particular subject matter and available resources through the collaborative efforts of educators (teachers, lecturers, learning advisors/facilitators, curriculum designers), and library and information professionals (librarians, learning resource co-ordinators).

 

It is however important to note that ‘the level of proficiency and the amount of time spent covering these skills will vary according to the abilities of individual learners’ and recognise that ‘the mastery of specific competences is dictated by the nature and requirements of the discipline studied’ [3] .

Information literacy requires sustained development throughout all levels of formal education, primary, secondary and tertiary’ and on into the workplace, in other words lifelong. It requires repeated opportunities for seeking, evaluating, managing and applying information gathered from multiple sources for different tasks, subject areas, themes and disciplines. It is this cumulative experience which creates the information literate person [4].

[1] Lupton, M. (2004) Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy (ANZIL) (2004) Australia and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice 2nd ed. Available from http://www.anziil.org/resources/Info%20lit%202nd%20edition.pdf [Accessed 23 March 2007]

[2] Johnston, B. and Anderson, T. Information Literacy and study skills An overview of research for LT Scotland. Available from http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/informationliteracy/images/overview_of_researchv2_tcm4-285566.pdf [Acessed 23 March 2007]

[3] Andretta, S. (2005) Information literacy; a practioner’s guide. Oxford: Chandos Publishing, p43

[4]  Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIL) (2004) Australia and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice 2nd ed. Available from http://www.anziil.org/resources/Info%20lit%202nd%20edition.pdf [Accessed 23 March 2007]

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