The ability to locate, examine, and apply information effectively has evolved into a global necessity in the fields of corporate employment, education and society as a whole. Information literacy as a concept has been encouraged for decades by professionals and libraries to improve cognitive operations. Despite the high level of significance, the rate of development in information literacy is slow in contrast to evolutions in information technologies. In higher education, the inefficiency of information literacy in students since the advent of the internet has become a major concern as it negates the objectives in improving educational quality. Even though the internet has allowed further access to academic, scientific, and corporate information, the technology has reduced the need for students to invest time in research. There is a need for students to comprehend the significance of information literacy to develop skill competencies that maintain lifelong learning.
Past literature in the field dictates that for an individual to become information literate, he or she needs to understand the purpose, location, and applicability of the required data (Ahangarzadeh, 2015). Therefore, to derive and integrate an effective solution that improves student information literacy in higher education, the project has three objectives. The first is to examine IL strategy documents to comprehend the current state of the concept, goals articulated, and issues identified. The second aim is to assess the formal representation of the IL approach to design countermeasures for the existent constraints. The last objective is to investigate the strategic solution with its tools in the field of education. The overall aim is to end up with a top down and inside out approach that ascertains effective liaison at the individual level.
The desired solution is one that captures John Dewey’s three principles of critical education that are activity engagements for students, learning through experience, and collaborative learning (Julien & Barker, 2009). This is an attainable reach given the capabilities of the internet. Thus, the project proposes internet based group learning that is semi-structured allowing peer and individual IL skill growth (Averill & Lewis, 2013). The preferred methodology is that of a case study approach as it enables the researcher to support collaborative engagement in participants. This investigation angle simulates real-world learning, as participants can improve their IL through outcome responses and self-monitoring. Participants are included on a voluntary basis and are sourced using posters on campus notice boards. The volunteers will come from divergent institutions to increase the robustness of the study.
Data collection will entail setting the participants in practical workshops over a ten-week period. The volunteer sets his or her goals and the facilitator guides in the learning process. Data collection is done through observation, note taking, group discussions, and internet tools. An example of a web tool is the RSS feed, which assesses the frequency, duration, and speed of digital resources use (Hepworth & Walton, 2009). The Three Step Reflective Framework is employed to measure participant growth in their information literacy spiral. The framework is suitable because it captures the goal, plan, and action taken by the participant allowing both researcher and self-assessments. Moreover, progress examinations are low-level meaning they are included per level of learning advancement in the project research (Salisbury & Karasmanis 2011). Group discussions will integrate audio recording technology to add quality to the subsequent data processing.
Data processing will employ four types of content examination strategies that are validity, descriptive, interpretive, and thematic analysis. The use of the four methods is to ascertain that the study findings are understood well, and information triangulated to test concurrence and provide assurance (Wang, 2006). The analysis might employ outside personnel per participant institution who will assess learning obstacles in their respective schools to support solution implementation. The stated examination procedure is suitable as it follows past proven approaches in learning that capture major themes and recurring patterns in parsimonious manners. Moreover, the strategy ascertains credibility and transferability because of the internal and external validity examinations. In general, the research expects to derive, implement, and maintain access, collaboration, openness, self-efficacy, confidence, permission to play, and personal growth in the novel IL internet based peer learning model (Kurbanoglu, 2015).
The internet has greatly improved the way that people acquire and access information. Despite these positive advancements, the technology has not necessarily meant an improvement in research skills in students mostly because of the overload of information. Information literacy involves more than just knowing how to use search engines. Students need to understand the significance of using other sources such as their peers to search for information. Instructors need to train students on effective ways of using internet technologies while equally teaching on research strategies. This will ensure that the students remain ethical when they are using the internet for their research, use the sources more effectively, know where to locate the sources, and evaluate the sources before using them. Collaborative learning under a universal platform yields more positive results in contrast to traditional lectures improving rates if IL skill growth.
Ahangarzadeh, E. (2015). A Contemporary Issue in Education: Information Literacy. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/contemporary-issue-education-information-literacy-emil-ahangarzadeh
Averill, D., & Lewis, N. (2013). Students and Information Literacy: High School and Postsecondary Perspectives. Maine Policy Review, 22(1), 114-117.
Hepworth, M., & Walton, G. (2009). Teaching Information Literacy for Inquiry-Based Learning. Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier.
Julien, H., & Barker, S. (2009). How High School Students Find And Evaluate Scientific Information: A Basis For Information Literacy Skills Development. Library & Information Science Research, 31(1), 12-17.
Kurbanoglu, S., Spiranec, S., Grassian, E., Mizrachi, D., & Catts, R. (2015). Information Literacy: Lifelong Learning and Digital Citizenship in the 21st Century. New York, NY: Springer.
Salisbury. F., & Karasmanis, S. (2011). Are they ready? Exploring Student Information Literacy Skills in the Transition from Secondary to Tertiary Education. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 42(1), 43-58.
Tyner, K. (2014). Literacy in a Digital World: Teaching and Learning in the Age of Information. New York, NY: Routledge.
Walter, S., & Shinew, D. (2012). Information Literacy Instruction for Educators: Professional Knowledge for an Information Age. New York, NY: Routledge.
Wang, L. (2006). Socio-Cultural Learning Theories and Information Literacy Teaching Activities in Higher Education. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 47(2), 149-158.
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