When exploring Information Literacy (IL) as part of my research in 2010, I had little understanding of a concept that would later develop into one of my main foci as an educator. My understanding of IL was strongly informed by the 2011 ANCIL framework. The framework is centred in the academic context, particularly in the transition into tertiary learning.

ANCIL IL modelThe ANCIL IL landscape model provided a useful visual depiction of the IL landscape and helped me understand the IL concept more fully. This model was central to approaches to IL development we adopted in our previous project.

As my understanding of IL and its relevance to a range of contexts developed, I realised the ANCIL model didn’t quite capture what I, as an academic, perceived as interconnected literacies and competencies in the tertiary learning landscape. I began to explore key concepts that underpinned IL in what we (the research team) have identified as a complex ‘space’.

Feekery model

The Feekery IL model emerged from discussions with Lisa, Ken, colleagues and teachers around what skills and competencies we expected students to develop as they progressed through their degree. It recognises the different literacies underpinned by IL within the tertiary learning context and key concepts that connect to specific literacy domains tertiary learners engage with.

Information literacy remains at the centre of the model, underpinning the other literacies, with concepts common to all. The positioning of the concepts within IL domain was determined by where we perceived the links to other literacies were most obvious in the tertiary context. Ethics and critical thinking are common to all domains while research and critical analysis were closely aligned with disciplinary and academic learning demands. Similarly, search skills and social media skills were logically related to digital and media literacy, while connectedness and creativity and innovation are key concepts that are valued by industries we are preparing our students for.

Academic Literacy

Includes the more traditional literacies associated with successful tertiary learning such as academic writing, critical reading, collaborative learning and learner development.

  • academic writing
  • critical reading
  • collaborative learning
  • learner development

Disciplinary  Literacy

Acknowledges the specific ways of knowing and understanding which types of information are valued in the various disciplines. Related concepts include

  • knowledge construction and epistemologies
  • scholarly communication (the way academics engage in research conversations)
  • recognition of authority in the discipline (who do we trust and why).

Students studying across diverse disciplines such as science and business need to recognise key differences in ways the discipline influences how information is presented, valued and used.

Digital & Media Literacy

Encompasses essential competencies connected to the ways we communicate, learn and share information is an increasingly technology-mediated This domain includes

  • multimodal learning
  • computer literacy and technology use
  • network literacy and communication
  • online identity and cyber-safety

Adult & Professional Literacy

Captures the concepts that extend beyond the tertiary learning context and into adult and professional contexts. These literacies connect to

  • developing financial and health knowledge
  • understanding workplace literacy and communication demands
  • extending social and cultural understanding
  • recognising civic responsibility and citizenship responsibilities
  • enhancing lifelong learning (a key goal of IL advocates)

We are exploring this model as part of this current project to determine it’s usefulness as a means of understanding the complexity of IL. Watch this space for updates.

Angela FeekeryDr. Angela Feekery is Te Pou Aro Kōrero with the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing at Massey University.