Towards a Learning Society — Exploring the Challenge of Applied Information Literacy through Reality-Based Scenarios
This paper outlines the role of information use in society to illustrate the process of developing a learning society as envisaged by the Information Literacy Research Centre which is located within the Linköping University Library. The section on the theoretical framework discusses learning from different pedagogical perspectives, the importance of reality-based scenarios and also proposes a new model, which could be described as an extension of the well known and often cited Kuhlthau's
... tion Search Process (ISP) model. The successful implementation of this new model, Applied Information Literacy Education, is explored through the outlines of the following courses, Civic and Public Communication -the Citizen in the Information Society, and, Health Promoting Organizations. The paper concludes by reflecting on the theoretical and practical implications of applying the extended Kuhlthau's model, as practice has shown that this approach is useful for pedagogical developmental work, including curriculum development in general, and specifically for information literacy programmes. This is presented as a necessary step for the promotion of a learning society based on information literacy and as a challenge not just for information literacy educators, but for other educators as well. Keywords applied information literacy, e-learning society, lifelong learning, reality-based assessment, information search process, authentic assessment. The information society is characterised by a constantly increasing volume of information, advancements in information and communication technologies, and the overall changing communication patterns. These changes are accelerating, making interaction with the information environment increasingly complex. The context of the information society presents both opportunities and challenges for a new education policy that is responsive to this new environment. This new learning reality requires a radical review of the whole learning enterprise. Niederhauser (1996) proposes a view of an information society which demands critical thinking and problem-solving skills of its members, and which raises questions surrounding the centrality of information literacy and other newly emerging literacies in society, such as civic and health literacies. Librarians, in their role of information literacy educators, should analyse the surrounding environment, the new information universe and the technological milieu, in order to identify problems, and further enhance provision in this area. This could include the development of specific priorities and strategies for the creation of sustainable learning environments and foster students' competences in the new global workplace. In other words, librarians have to strengthen their workforce readiness to respond to constantly changing information environment. Lifelong learning is the outcome of an information literate society, but as noted by Christine Bruce (1999), information literacy In other words, it is by no means an end product, but an applied concept concerned with the mastery of processes, and also something to be learned as well as being an effective learning tool. Within this context, information literacy is an appropriate foundation for lifelong learning, as it depends upon an understanding of how data and information are gathered, analysed and synthesised to become meaningful knowledge, together with an ability to apply higher-order thinking to these processes.