Information Literacy – Issues Based Reflection

Home Forums Student forums Leena Information Literacy – Issues Based Reflection

Viewing 4 reply threads
  • Author
    • #1778
      Leena Riethmuller

      Reading about Information Literacy (IL), the Digital Divide and it’s implications for Digital Literacy has made me reflect on the deeper issues about the way literacy is perceived within out cultural constructs and education sector. I was reminded of a video talk by Sheila Weber, an expert in IL and Information Behaviour (IB). In the video, Weber shares Annemaree Lloyd’s interpretation of IL:

      “An information literate person has a deep awareness, connection, and fluency with the information environment. Information literate people are engaged, enabled, enriched and embodied by social, procedural and physical information that constitutes an information universe. Information literacy is a way of knowing that universe.” [click here for original article]

      Lloyd’s description indicated the necessity to identify context in order to properly interact within an information environment. For this reason, as Peter Godwin and Jo Parker identify, an IL framework cannot easily be transferred from one context to another context. For a time, IL was perceived as a skill related only to the education sector. Godwin and Parker demonstrate that this has been to the detriment of exploring the many applications IL can have when implemented correctly. In order to ensure IL frameworks are relevant, they recommend that IL be taught within context rather than a stand-alone class that can be applied to contexts. While this may appear to be the ideal scenario and valuable endeavour, it would be an arduous, complex and endless task to develop IL frameworks specific to every context.

      Weber’s video talk suggests an alternative to creating individual frameworks, what she describes as an “information literate life course” known as Lifelong Learning. IL education programs for Lifelong Learning would teach people how to asses and use information within their own context, what Weber calls “situational awareness”.

      Lifelong learners may be better equipped to access, interpret and use information flexibly across academic, work and everyday life environments. Godwin and Parker’s discussion on ‘transliteracy’ demonstrated that people can be successfully literate across multiple platforms. Although ‘transliteracy’ relates mostly to examining Digital Literacy, it could potentially be used outside of a digital environment.

      I enjoy the idea that people could be taught how to learn for themselves, and that learning is something to be practiced throughout our entire lives. It is quite a literal way of being present and engaged with an immediate context. In some ways it bypasses academic skill, and gets to the heart of everyday life experience.

      Based on this brief reflection, I can identify the importance of adopting a Lifelong Learning approach to IL. I believe that equipping people to approach information in this way will make it easier for them to find information, provide a deeper understanding of the information they find, and use it more effectively. Lifelong learners may also feel more confident in unfamiliar environments. This may reduce anxiety about entering new workplaces, using new technologies,  travelling to unfamiliar destinations and more. Better approaches to teaching IL cannot alone resolve issues associated with IL. Workplaces can improve information sharing processes to make it easier for people to be literate in their work spaces. In social situations people could endeavour to be more welcoming and sharing with others. Technology developers can continue to include user experience when designing new products, programs and services. If information is expected to be used, it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure it’s accessible.

    • #1784
      Stephanie Venturato

      Hi Leena, Your post really resonates, I’ve been thinking alot lately about how actually terrifying it is that more people aren’t life long learners (shudder), it embeds that sort of thinking that this is how it’s always been done, therefore always should,  it’s very restrictive. And yeah I think you’re right, it only increase anxiety once control is taken out of our hands. I love that quote “its a way of knowing the universe” and I agree that it ” bypasses academic skill, and gets to the heart of everyday life experience”,  it sort of about just being open and accepting that you might not know the answer, but you know how to get it and that’s ok. Great post!

      • #1866
        Leena Riethmuller

        Thanks Steph. I think the parts you have highlighted are the parts that are most important to me too. The idea that people stop learning at a particular point scares me!
        Apart from seeing the broader applications for IL, I have been thinking about IL in relation to art making.  When it comes to my practice I am at a point where I feel confident about being people-literate, body-literate and art-literate, so it’s okay to just enjoy the process and not focus on the outcomes so much. It means I am excited by the unexpected rather than fearing it (or attempting to control it) as I might have done in the past. 🙂

    • #1890
      Ruth McConchie

      Thank Leena, I really enjoyed your post. The idea that people stop learning really scares me too. I think that maybe that the pedagogy of current schooling undermines life-long education. There’s this idea that if you complete the task you are finished, but really it’s about how you learnt to do it and how you will continue to learn to do things. Thanks Leena!

      • #1967
        Leena Riethmuller

        Thanks Ruth. I agree that there are frameworks within the educations system that don’t work to provide an enriching learning environment. I don’t feel like I know enough to comment properly. I can only really speak from my experience, so I can say that for the most part my experience of education was about outcomes rather than learning and skills building. Such a shame!

    • #1940
      Will Wood

      Hi Leena,

      Thanks for stopping by my forum and commenting on my Twitter Chat post!

      I have bookmarked the video you have linked in this post and am interested to watch it when I have some more time.

      You would know from my post that I feel that having so many titles for literacy concepts that share so many similarities can be difficult for the uninitiated to grasp – especially since these titles are most commonly used in the library industry meaning that many are unfamiliar with their intended use. I reflected on this though after reading the point you made on my post about it being important for concepts to be given labels so that it can encourage people to search more deeply for the differences that exist between them. After reading your post here I really agree with the comments you have made about the idea of creating a single changeable framework for literacy that is applicable in a variety of contexts depending on the needs and aptitude of the user. I am also excited to continue to explore these concepts! It is such a changeable and developing field of study.

      • #1966
        Leena Riethmuller

        Thanks Will. Something I noticed last semester in my literature review is that a lot of study on teaching and learning has been done in different fields (primarily academic fields)… and Information Science is just one of those fields. I think that is part of the reason why there are so many labels for the same or similar things. Also, a lot of this research is relatively new, so concepts that exist under different labels in different fields are yet to be brought together. I find this is a really compelling time to be studying Information Science. There is so much still to explore!

    • #2031
      Stacey Larner

      Leena I like the lifelong learning approach too. I think sometimes people misunderstand what IL is, probably not helped by the academic rhetoric surrounding IL. As I get older I am much more aware when I’ve come up against a gap in knowledge, and the ways I can gain IL in that area. That IL is ongoing and contextual probably needs to be emphasised more in discussions of it, so the lifelong learning aspect of it is apparent to people who probably are already engaged in lifelong learning without realising! (Or those who feel intimidated by the concept of IL). Anyway, great post!

Viewing 4 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.