The IL-DEM project is designed to answer three research questions which Bruce set out in his post on 23 October. This post is our chance to start exploring elements of the second question:
What are the relationships between (1) information behaviours, (2) literacies (skills and capabilities), (3) resources, and (4) knowledge and experience, in the acquisition of information literacy amongst Community Councillors?
We are asking this to test, validate and develop a proposed model of information literacy for lifelong learning. The proposed model was presented at the Information: interactions and impact conference in 2015, and is displayed in graphic format below.
A criticism of this model is that it presents a cycle for information literacy and lifelong learning seen through stages of personal life, formal education and the workplace. However, while most of us will have received the majority of our formal education by our mid-20s, formal education may continue in later life. For example, many people take evening classes or similar to enhance their personal skills and interests. Similarly, many people learn at (or for) work in structured environments (and we researchers never stop learning!) Similarly, we learn in unstructured, informal ways at work. If we are struggling with a problem, we turn Google for answers to factual questions or ask experienced colleagues to pass their knowledge on to us.
A second criticism of this model is that it separates formal education from work and personal life. Yet many people also work while they are still engaged in formal education, and often those in work pursue studies part-time to gain further qualifications. Equally, most employees’ work and and personal lives overlap. (Exceptionally some people always work alone, or do not enjoy positive relationships with colleagues, but we would argue that this is rare.)
The model also omits the many contexts or roles in our lives, without taking into account that we can be simultaneously children, parents, siblings, partners/spouses, colleagues, bosses etc, and that we can learn through any of these relationships. The model would be improved if it were able to reflect the many facets to our lives, acknowledging that several are active at any one time. So a better visual image may be a gemstone with several facets gleaming in the light of our learning.
So the value of the model as it stands is a starting point for conceptualising information literacy and lifelong learning, and one that we hope to improve and develop as we analyse data collected during the course of the IL-DEM project.