Statement on Learning Goals

Information literacy instruction is aimed at the development of lifelong information literacy habits in students.  Information literate people are “able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” [1] Decisions about the skills and knowledge taught in a particular session are highly dependent on the context of that session.

Learning goals are careful statements of the skills and knowledge that are intended to be learned as a result of the instruction provided.  Learning goals guide the selection of teaching methods, creation of learner activities, and application of assessment strategies.  As such, learning goals provide a point of focus for both learner and instructor in experiencing and reflecting upon information literacy instruction.  

Information literacy instruction learning goals are appropriately developed using conceptual and/or process approaches to teach bibliographic resources and/or information problem-solving.  The Model Statement of Objectives for Academic Bibliographic Instruction and the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education provide frameworks for developing learning goals.

The Model Statement of Objectives for Academic Bibliographic Instruction presents a conceptual approach that focuses primarily on information gathering, scholarly expertise, and bibliographic structures.  The Model Statement delineates four main learning goals:

  • The user understands how information is defined by experts, and recognizes how that knowledge can help determine the direction of his/her search for specific information.
  • The user understands the importance of the organizational content, bibliographic structure, function, and use of information sources.
  • The user can identify useful information from information sources or information systems.
  • The user understands the way collections of information sources are physically organized and accessed.

The Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education presents a process-oriented approach that encompasses information gathering as well as information evaluation and use. The Standards delineate five competency standards:

  • The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.
  • The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.
  • The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
  • The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
  • The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.

In developing specific learning goals for a particular information literacy session, both the Model Statement and the Standards offer more detailed statements from which to select or create additional goals statements as needed.

[1] Final Report of the American Library Association Presidential Commission on Information Literacy. 1989.