• Improving Student Learning Theory and Practice - 10 Years on

    Title: Encouraging Lifelong Learning using Information Literacy:
    The Development of a Theoretical Evaluative Framework

    Author(s): Nikky HSberle
    Institution: Cape Technikon, South Africa
    Session: Conceptual Paper  

    There are currently two major challenges facing Higher Education in South Africa: transformation and the changing nature of society towards a knowledge economy. The South African Qualification Authority has been given the task of designing and implementing a National Qualifications Framework as a mechanism to achieve the educational objectives of transformation and the development of lifelong learners. The importance of information literacy as a fundamental element in the process of social and economic development and lifelong learning in the 21st century has been acknowledged and documented internationally and nationally. The need to develop and provide effective support services for learners has become critical, especially if the governments vision of higher education making a major contribution to the delivery of skilled and socially committed professionals and intellectuals is ever to become a reality. What is conspicuous in most information literacy programmes, however, is the absence of a tight theoretical framework on which the intervention is based. The reported study was aimed at the development and validation of a theoretical evaluative model that was applied to two specific information literacy interventions to demonstrate its usefulness as an evaluative framework. The theoretical evaluative framework was developed using a holistic behavioural taxonomic approach incorporating affective, cognitive, and physical domains.

    The model was based on the theoretical work of Nahl-Jakobovits and Jakobovits (1987: 204-214) who developed a classification of library skills and errors, and a classification of behavioural objectives for information literacy. Within this behavioural taxonomic approach used for both classifications three domains were identified affective, cognitive, and psychomotor. Within each domain there are three levels that may be attained orientation, interaction, and internalisation. The application of these two taxonomies to existing initiatives demonstrated that each had distinct limitations in their application. A new taxonomy was therefore developed which sought to overcome these limitations and address the specific needs of learners in a South African context.

    The Taxonomy of Educational Outcomes for Information Literacy Initiatives for Higher Education and the conceptual model of information literacy the Information Literacy Cycle - upon which it is based, was developed from the theoretical work and practical application of the previous taxonomies, and the results of the evaluations. They provide a synthesis of the practical experience gained during the study. From an educational perspective the use of outcomes aligns with the contemporary trend in the South African educational system towards Outcomes-Based Education. The Information Literacy Cycle aims to conceptualise the complex nature of information literacy. Furthermore, it offers a tentative answer as to how information literacy could be integrated into the educational system. It is this understanding of information literacy that was used for the development of the newer taxonomy. The conceptual model reflects the goal of information literacy, which ultimately is to contribute towards an ongoing, life-long, learning experience.