Information Competency and E-Learning

Information Competency and E-Learning

Lesley Farmer (California State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-068-2.ch028
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Abstract

In the information society, learners need to locate and evaluate resources carefully as well as determine how to use relevant information to solve problems and make wise decisions. As more students learn in online environments, resources and support must be available to optimize their success. Information literacy offers a series of processes as a means to deal successfully with information. By melding information literacy and content matter in e-learning environments, instructional designers can create authentic experiences for students to hone their skills. Choosing effective electronic resources, collaboration with librarians, and addressing technical issues are key to successful e-learning for information literacy. Future trends in e-learning approaches are discussed.
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Introduction

“Information is Power.” This phrase resonates loudly in the Information Age. Now in the Knowledge Age a more accurate truism would be “The use of information is power.” In a digital world where the amount of information doubles every two years, students need to locate and evaluate resources carefully as well as determine how to use relevant information to solve problems and make wise decisions. Authentic tasks within coursework offer opportunities for learners to hone these skills. As more students learn in online environments, resources and support must be available to optimize their success.

The Information Society

At the 2003 World Summit on the Information Society, governments and world leaders “made a strong commitment towards building a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society for all, where everyone can access, utilize and share information and knowledge” (United Nations, 2006, p. 6). What constitutes an information society? Fundamentally, an information society is one in which information replaces material goods as the chief driver of socio-economics. Human intellectual capital has higher currency than material capital, or at least intellect is needed to optimize the use of material resources.

This information society impacts existing institutions and cultures. The speed and globalization of information leads to constant change, which can be hard to digest and manage. The majority of jobs now involve technology and other related new skills, so that the idea of a “terminal” degree or a static skill set is becoming an outdated paradigm (Handel, 2003). Rather, adults often need to “retool” themselves throughout their work lives. Particularly for adults who are largely digital immigrants, this new world of information, especially in electronic form, can be puzzling and overwhelming. Do they have enough background information to understand and use the new information?

What then do today’s learners need to know and be able to do?

  • Be information literate: access, evaluate, and use

  • Be lifelong learners: pursue interests, read, and generate knowledge

  • Be socially responsible: uphold democracy, be ethical, and cooperate.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Integrated Learning Management System: A centralized online system that provides access to resources and telecommunications

Instructional Design: A systematic analysis of training needs and the development of aligned instruction

Metacognition: Analysis of one’s own thinking and learning processes

E-Learning: Learning in which the process is digitally based, usually involving a network

Collaborative Learning: Learning that involves the process of sharing resources and responsibilities to create shared meaning

Information Literacy: The ability to access, evaluate, comprehend, organize, use, and generate information effectively and purposefully

E-gaming: Electronic-based games

Web 2.0: Interactive web; enables people to collaborate and share online

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