Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Trouble with Information Literacy

DIKW I've had this post in draft for a year now. I think its time has come...

For the past few years I have contributed to a module on "Research Skills" for students. In recent years (since we dropped statistics), my contribution has been an "information literacy" section based on finding, reading and critiquing scientific papers.

It's silly to argue against the need for information literacy - the question is, how? The information literacy concept concept is too big and too nebulous to be useful to students - this idea is big, that idea is far away - and needs to be broken down into useful units proximal to student need. Students deal in information, not literacies.

What is encouraging is a new sense of reality about students actually work (rather than how they should theoretically work):
Lucy Holman (2011) Millennial Students' Mental Models of Search: Implications for Academic Librarians and Database Developers. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 37(1): 19–27

But maybe the academic fox has already been shot. Should we just sign 'em up for the Google MOOC?

(Sigh, it appears I've signed up for yet another MOOC. Must think about trying to break this habit :-)

1 comment:

  1. "..perhaps information literacy instruction should emphasize problem-solving strategies when searches prove ineffective and concentrate on ways in which students can broaden or narrow results."

    This is what we try to do with some groups of students, but it proves to be just as nebulous. Unless you can apply it to a particular 'real' situation or problem a student has at that time it is pretty meaningless.