Are your Employees Illiterate when it comes to Digital Learning?

infolit5You could… Package tasty knowledge in sweet consumable bites, but, what if employees don’t realize they need it?

You couldCurate a wealth of resources and highlight relevant material in your company’s information ecosystem, but, what if employees can’t understand it once they open it?  

Designing learning experiences includes more than just creating training activities; it includes leveraging the drive to learn, making it accessible, engaging, understandable, beneficial to learners and your company, with bread crumbs for finding it later. To help learners get and use the knowledge you have to offer, consider making information literacy a core competency in your curriculum. 

The Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL, 2016)  has developed a six-part framework for improving how people interact, consume, and produce information, which are skills that equate to having information literacy. Being information literate means you can:infolit1

  1. Determine what info you need to search for
  2. Access the tech that can get you to that info
  3. Search for and locate the info you need
  4. Understand the info once you find it
  5. Adopt and use the info
  6. Produce and share info with others

…But, those are just the basic skills. The newer framework also includes the metaliteracy skills of successfully consuming and producing information in collaborative digital spaces. It also includes the ability for an individual to be critically self-reflective in order to learn-how-to-learn in an ever-changing information ecosystem. The framework includes examples of how to model information literacy as well as ways to address emotional, attitudinal, or valuing dimensions of information.

The framework is comprised of six concepts that can be taught:

  • Determine authority. Understand that authority is constructed by communities and is also contextual. An information literate employee will assess the credibility of an author, and know what qualities define expertise, and know that expertise can vary given the situation. For example, a plastic surgeon and a military field medic are both authorities on how to stitch a wound; the information literate person will determine one to be more of an expert than the other, depending on the context and need.
  • Judge content separately from the format/method of delivery. An information literate employee might recognize that a one-page reference guide is a summary of a larger body of information and will seek out the larger body if necessary.
  • Know information has different forms of value. Information can be used as a commodity, a weapon, as a way to influence, used to improve performance, and more. An information literate employee might recognize the greater value of sharing knowledge with a peer, or, discern which class to take by considering how they align with the company’s strategic initiatives.
  • Understand that research can create information that is dynamic. Finding answers to questions can lead to new questions. Information can change; it is dynamic. An information literate employee might look for the most recently published information on a topic, or might read older versions and compare them to newer versions to determine what information has changed.
  • Information comes from many voices. Scholarship is discursive and collaborative. An information literate employee would credit peers on a white paper, for example, or, search and read the opinions of multiple authors who disagree on the same topic.
  • There is strategy in how you search. A search can be open-ended and explorative, opening doors to new questions. It can also be exact, concise, and quick. Experts use a range of search tools and strategies. Novices tend to limit themselves to the same tools and strategies, regardless of what information they are trying to gain.

If your learning and development organization is expanding your solutions to include the entire learning experience, consider including information literacy as a core competency. Today’s learner is an independent thinker and a collaborative problem-solver. Having information literacy skills will optimize how efficiently and effectively they navigate your information ecosystem, and ultimately, how optimize how they learn.

 

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