Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Teaching and Assessing Information Literacy in Orally-Communicating Rural Environments: A Model

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Teaching and Assessing Information Literacy in Orally-Communicating Rural Environments: A Model

Article excerpt


Models serve as rule of thumbs in a practice. People who reside in rural areas or villages, especially in developing countries like India and Nigeria, and depend mainly on verbal communication to disperse information constitute the orally-communicating rural publics. Whereas information literacy models and frameworks are widely published, a model that encapsulates the landscapes of learning and practice of information literacy in orallycommunicating rural environments is completely unavailable. Yet, information literacy has been declared a necessity for life-long learning (Garner, 2006). And naturally, learning can occur formally or informally and cannot be confined to textual and technological scenes. As such, thinking about information literacy and information literacy practice from its predominantly textual perspective is not inclusive and thus, decontextualizes the ontological characteristics of the practice. This is the gap that spurs the researcher into thinking on how information literacy might be occurring among rural dwellers that are largely illiterates, and depend not on textual and technological resources to access or disperse information. Consequently, this theoretical paper discourses the phenomenon by looking through the philosophical frame of constructivism, with particular inclination to the "personal relevance and social impact frames" that is proposed for information literacy education by Bruce, Edwards, and Lupton (2006).


The sole objective of this present paper is to introduce a new model of information literacy - a model that does not override other existing models but provides a new way of thinking about information literacy in orally-rural environments.


To fulfil the objective of this paper, the analytical research design was adopted. The proposed model was developed and improved upon by the researcher in the course of doctoral (field experimental) research. The organisation of this paper is simple and successively presented under suitable sub-headings. The introduction section offered background information to the paper. The objective section pinpointed the aim of the paper, and is followed up by the method adopted to compose the paper. An overview of the varied concepts of information literacy ensued. A context-based discussion on the published models and frameworks for information literacy was done. Afterwards, the gap in the existing models and frameworks was highlighted. The proposed model was presented and described. And the conclusion part summarises the overall content of the paper, complemented with recommendations.

Information literacy: A conceptual variance

The definitions of information literacy after its foremost description by Paul Zurkowski in 1974 have varied across scholars, organisations and contexts (Owusu-Ansah, 2005). Foremost definitions described the term basically from the educational context and consider it as set of skills required to access and utilise information effectively. This is particular to textual and technological platforms of information. But, given to emerging concerns to justify that information literacy is an indispensable practice for life-long learning (Garner, 2006), and a prerequisite for personal and vocational empowerment (Bundy, 2004; Eisenberg, Lowe, & Spitzer, 2004), there has arisen conscious attempts to re-define information literacy. On this ground, new concepts have emerged. For instance, Bruce et al. (2013) have used the concept of informed learning to argue that information literacy is not only about skills but includes peoples' overall information experience and character of using information to learn. Hepworth and Walton (2013) have a similar view in stating that information behaviour explains information literacy. Kuhlthan (1993) sees information literacy as a learning process that could occur in any setting and, inferably, among any group of people. Bruce (1997, 1999) consider it as a thinking and reasoning oriented process that people manifest in their professional life in other to succeed. …

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