Information Literacy in the Workplace


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Exploration of how academic librarians can help enhance workplace information literacy, encourage lifelong learning and meet corporate demands for graduates with "21st Century Skills".

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  • Research path has taken many twists and turns. Original idea was to ask HR professionals to react to ACRL Info Lit standards to get a sense of what skills, knowledge and abilities employers are looking for and if the standards had any resonance with them….paying particular attention to gaps / deficiencies. Ran parallel to concern at the school to enhance business acumen and critical thinking of their graduates. Much of this information however is available in the current literature – Conference Board, SHRM, ASTD reports – and was reflected in a survey of alumni re: the LIR curriculum. Experimented with some techniques in an graduate level course … and now ready to ask more focused questions of employers / HR Professionals and perhaps move us all closer to accomplishing our goals.
  • This is serious business…impacts companies bottom line and affects our competitiveness as a nation.
  • Information Literacy ACRL: 1. Determine the extent of information needed. 2. Access the needed information effectively and efficiently. 3. Evaluate info and its sources critically and incorporate info into one’s knowledge base. 4. Use info effectively to accomplish a specific purpose. 5. Access and use info ethically and legally. 5. Understand the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information. CILIP: Info literacy is knowing when and why you need info, where to find it and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner. Business IL - might also include: awareness of key providers of business info, understanding of types of info avail in the business world – understanding of business info landscape Workplace IL: Often involves different info needs, diff info seeking behavior, diff relationship with librarians “ messy and open-ended” problems more complex problems identification of problems and solutions using own constructs / interpretations more of a social component…networking, mentoring etc culture of company also plays a role – how open are they to new ideas, do they encourage collab and sharing?
  • Students also said if they had been pushed harder, they would have worked harder. …and after graduation, regardless of their path, would’ve paid more attention and worked harder while in high school.
  • Interviewed: 1,487 public high school graduates from classes of 02,03 and 04 400 employers who make personnel decisions 300 instructors who teach first-year students at two and four year colleges Report prepared for Created in 1996 by the nation's governors and corporate leaders, Achieve is an independent, bipartisan, non-profit education reform organization based in Washington, D.C. that helps states raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments and strengthen accountability
  • College instructors harsher than employers
  • Prepared for a consortium that includes: Conference Board, SHRM, ASTD and Corporate Voices Surveyed 217 employers to examine corp practices on training newly hired grads at 3 educational levels Almost half of employers provide “workforce readiness” (remedial) training to erase deficiencies among their newly hired entrants in skills they expect them to have when hired “ moderately” to “somewhat” successful
  • Others include: Diversity, IT application, Leadership, Lifelong learning/self direction, Professionalism/Work Ethic, Ethics/Social Responsibility Mel Levine – “worklife unreadiness” (Chronicle of Higher Ed, February 2005) author of Ready or Not, Here Life Comes advocated for a required career studies course in all undergrad programs Leads to problems on the job (Bonnie Cheuk, 2008): Use of out-dated info because it is convenient to do so “Satisficing” Not aware of existing resources within the organization which can address a business issue Don’t know how to use available tools to their advantage Heavily reliance on free web-based sources Cannot manage info – email, RSS feeds, etc. Won’t share info they found – competitive advantange HR specific: bargaining/negotiating, consulting/influencing/relationship building, comfort with diversity, political savvy
  • Ford: Online training program includes modules on “21 st Century Skills” - Problem Solving and Communication Skills and Basic Research Skills (for high schools) Boeing: Educational partnerships include Space Camp, mentoring programs (engineers – robot building teams of students), training programs with local community colleges, 8 week fellowship program for faculty Yum: online university American Express: changed hiring profile
  • Alumni feedback: Presentation & communication skills poor Integration / Synthesis lacking …. Don’t just give me #s tell me why you focused on those #s, what they mean and how they compare to competitors - also what about trends over time?
  • Pedagogy – inquiry based learning, modeling Advocacy – continued conversations with everyone explaining that radical changes to teaching methods necessary and that it takes time – can’t do it in a one shot instruction session!!
  • Information Literacy in the Workplace

    1. 1. Information Literacy in the Workplace Laura L. Leavitt, MSLIS Labor Relations & Business Librarian Michigan State University SLA Annual Conference - June 14, 2010
    2. 2. Research Questions <ul><li>Do the skills we impart (via information literacy instruction) extend to the workplace? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they the skills that employers want and employees need? </li></ul><ul><li>If not, how can we realign our instructional strategies? </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>“ Our fundamental competitiveness is at stake . And a cynic would say that the only way you’re finally going to get into the end zone on this issue is for some of our important industries to lose competitiveness globally. The fact is, this is already happening in a number of cases…” </li></ul><ul><li>W. James McNerney, Jr. </li></ul><ul><li>Chairman, President, and CEO </li></ul><ul><li>The Boeing Company </li></ul>Source: Susan Stewart (2009), “Will You Want to Hire Your Own Kids? (Will Anybody Else?),” The Conference Board Executiveaction Series, No. 313
    4. 4. Some Definitions <ul><li>Information Literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Business Information Literacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial Literacy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Workplace Information Literacy </li></ul>
    5. 5. Recent HS Graduates <ul><li>40% of High School Graduates Not Prepared for College or Workforce </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Math & Science </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Writing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reading comprehension </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conducting Research </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… and students AGREED! </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Source: Peter D. Hart Research Associates, (2005) Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work ? Conducted for Achieve, Inc.
    7. 7. Source: Peter D. Hart Research Associates, (2005) Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work ? Conducted for Achieve, Inc.
    8. 8. Recent College Graduates Source: Casner-Lotto, J., Rosenblum, E. & Wright, M. (August 2009) The Ill-Prepared U.S. Workforce, Exploring the Challenges of Employer-Provided Workforce Readiness Training , The Conference Board Research Report.
    9. 9. 7 Survival Skills: The Competencies Workers Need and Schools Don’t (Adequately) Teach <ul><li>Critical thinking and problem solving </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration across networks and leading by influence </li></ul><ul><li>Agility and adaptability </li></ul><ul><li>Effective oral and written communication </li></ul><ul><li>Accessing and analyzing information </li></ul><ul><li>Curiosity and imagination </li></ul><ul><li>Initiative and entrepreneurialism </li></ul>Source: Tony Wagner, 2008, The Global Achievement Gap , p.67
    10. 10. Employer Initiatives <ul><li>Ford Motor Co. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Boeing </li></ul><ul><li>YUM! Brands </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>American Express </li></ul>
    11. 11. Houston… We Have a Problem! <ul><li>Public education system, colleges / universities and employer-based training programs are not improving the situation very much…. </li></ul>
    12. 12. LIR 823: The Assignment <ul><li>Research a company and present the information you find. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Corporate Strategy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Competitors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Financial performance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>External environment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment of future prospects </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Recommended d/bases and resources </li></ul>
    13. 13. LIR 823: Assessment
    14. 14. LIR 823: Results <ul><li>Librarian “interventions” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research guides and quick in-class tutorial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback on two practice rounds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One-on-one meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Assessments – Students Improved </li></ul><ul><li>Alumni/Employer feedback </li></ul>
    15. 15. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Preliminary instruction on “basic skills” needed </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis and synthesis of information was most difficult </li></ul><ul><li>Previous work experience seemed to give some students an edge </li></ul><ul><li>Social aspect of learning was important and might need to be leveraged more in the future </li></ul><ul><li>More improvement is needed to meet employer expectations </li></ul>
    16. 16. Next Steps / Future Directions <ul><li>Online tutorial on business research </li></ul><ul><li>Evolving pedagogy & rubrics </li></ul><ul><li>Further interviews and survey of human resources professionals / alumni </li></ul><ul><li>Increased collaboration with faculty, career services and HR professionals necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul>
    17. 17. Thank You <ul><li>Laura L. Leavitt </li></ul><ul><li>Labor Relations/Business Librarian </li></ul><ul><li>Gast Business Library </li></ul><ul><li>Michigan State University </li></ul><ul><li>50 Law College Building </li></ul><ul><li>East Lansing, MI 498824-1300 </li></ul><ul><li>517-355-4647 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>