Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tranforming Information Literacy Knowledge and Skills across Practices #ecil2013

Tranforming Information Literacy Knowledge and Skills across Practices Camilla Moring at the European Conference on Information Literacy. She espoused a socio-cultural approach to IL. She questioned the idea of transfer as moving skills/knowledge from one part of life to another, as the skills/knowledge was tied to the specific practice context in which they were developed. Her ideas were informed by a research study that was looking at transition from school to university in Denmark. This aimed to improve general academic study competencies at school, as preparation for university. The competencies (divided into subject and general competencies) did not explicitly include IL, but some items in the competencies could be identified as parts of IL. Ability to seek and evaluate information was listed as a general competence whereas one could argue it is a subject competence.
In a pilot study, 8 students were interviewed at school, 4 of whom were able to go on to university (and were interviewed again), and the teachers were also interviewed, as well as documentation being examined.
Moring went on to define transfer as "the use of knowledge and skills learned in one context to qualify actions in another" - undepinning this are ideas such as - that there are general principles which can be used in both contexts. However, Moring put forward the idea of transfer of practice, which took account of social and symbolic elements that were associated with practice.
She presented a triangle of meaning (discourses, narratives etc. of the situation and practice), materials (transport, access, distribution) and competence (requiring transformation, recontextualisation and adapation). So with the example of the students: meaning for them when still at school was learning to use subject related methods, competence was related to subject knowledge and methods, and the materials were articles and a variety of other things. However, when they went to university, students were confused about meaning, and the competences they felt they needed were related to things such as "structure and write assignments", but they were struggling to fit their existing knowledge in this new situation. Also the materials they were using were more limited in university.
This all has implications for how (or indeed, whether) this practice can travel across contexts.

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