What Makes Information Literacy Relevant to Higher Education Students?: The Kaleidoscope Effect

19 May 2020 - 19 May 2020

Presenter(s): Karen Kaufmann

Session recording: View recording

Slides from the session: Click this link to download the slides from this session


What makes Information Literacy relevant to university students? Using relevance theory to investigate information literacy, this doctoral study investigated university students’ relevance perceptions of information literacy. Using the lens of sociocognitive relevance, the study identifies what makes information literacy useful and meaningful to students when they apply information literacy competencies to complete an academic assignment. Certain factors were identified that make information literacy relevant to university students. These user-relevance factors of information literacy provide enhanced understandings of the metacognitive pathways which students experience as they journey toward crossing information literacy threshold concepts. The factors that impact the relevance of information literacy for university students fall into three categories: Uber, Key and Dimensional. There is one overarching “Uber” factor, nine Key factors and eleven Dimensional factors that are perceived by college students to impact the relevance of information literacy to their academic work. This metacognitive mix of relevance factors perceived by university students and experienced in the application of information literacy competencies to complete assignments may be described as a kaleidoscope effect or experience. The student perceptions of how these factors of relevance impact their information literacy application to their work is identified as a metacognitive, intertwined and diffused relationship among all the factors- like a kaleidoscope. This relationship between the factors as a metacognitive kaleidoscope experience, both reflective and intertwined, will be discussed in this session.

The kaleidoscope of factors that make information literacy relevant to university students provides new data surrounding user relevance of information literacy, both within and across academic disciplines, to the “Real World” information experiences of university students.


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