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Key skill assessment unit: Information literacy
As the volume of information grows in databases, libraries and on the internet,...
As the volume of information grows in databases, libraries and on the internet, information literacy skills are key to being able to find and manage information effectively in a complex society. Information literacy is about recognising when information is needed, and locating, critically evaluating, using and presenting the information to suit a specific purpose. These skills are increasingly in demand by individuals and employers alike. In developing and assessing your information literacy skills, you will learn to use and adapt your skill confidently and effectively in different situations and contexts. This unit is designed to be studied for 1 hour per week over 50 weeks.
Having studied this unit you should be able to:
- develop a strategy for using skills in information literacy over an extended period of time;
- monitor progress and adapt your strategy as necessary, to achieve the quality of outcomes required.
- evaluate your overall strategy and present outcomes from your work, including citations and a bibliography.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Developing information literacy skills
- 2 Sources of help
- 3 Key skills assessment units
- 4 Structure of the assessment units
- 5 Effective use of information literacy skills
- 6 What you should present
- 7 Part A: Evidencing skills to develop a strategy, monitor progress and evaluate performance
- 8 Part B: Evidencing your information literacy skills
- 9 Notes to help you complete your assessment
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Key skill assessment unit: information literacy
This key skill develops your information literacy (IL) skills in your studies, work or other activities over a period of time. To tackle all of this section you will need to plan your work over at least 3–4 months to give you enough time to practise and improve your skills, to seek feedback from others, and to monitor and evaluate your progress.
Information literacy is not the same as information technology. Information and communication technology skills tend to concentrate on using hardware and software effectively to process and communicate information. Information literacy, on the other hand, is concerned with recognising when information is needed, and locating, critically evaluating, using and presenting the information to suit a specific purpose.
Information literacy skills are important because of the rapid growth of information systems and information resources. In your studies, your work or other activities you are likely to be faced with an increasing range of information sources available through libraries, in online specialist databases, and on the internet. But all this information raises questions about how to search for and locate what you need, as well as issues about the quality, accuracy and reliability of the information you find. A large quantity of information on its own does not make us better informed; the onus is on us to be critical and skilful users of that information and the sources to which we have access.
The key skill of information literacy is intended to develop your critical awareness and competence in handling information and information systems. Being information literate means being able to:
recognise where there is a knowledge or information ‘gap’, and identify what type of information you need to fill it;
locate appropriate information resources, and arrange access to them;
plan and monitor a search of the resources;
sort and critically evaluate the information you find;
organise and present information to others as required by your situation;
understand the social, legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of information.
Improving your skills in IL involves you planning strategically how you will go about developing your skills, as well as on which skills you should focus. In monitoring your progress you will need to apply and practise your IL skills to achieve the goals you set yourself and to reflect on, and possibly modify, your approach in the light of your own assessment of progress and feedback from others. Evaluating your strategy and presenting results gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your IL skills and assess how successful your strategy was in achieving what you set out to do. This unit is designed to be studied for 1 hour per week over 50 weeks.
This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from the Key skill assessment unit: information literacy course which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Information and Communication Technologies courses or view the range of currently available OU Information and Communication Technologies courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Friday, 15th July 2011
Last updated on: Sunday, 29th July 2012
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
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