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Information literacy for lifelong learning institute students: Determining a best-practice model

Sherry E Gelbwasser, Johnson & Wales University


The National Adult Literacy Survey (1996) found that older people lacked three types of literacy: prose, quantitative, and document, and are in need of these skills to improve their quality of life. One way older students acquire skills is through noncredit programs offered by lifelong learning institutes (LLI) at community colleges. However, limited research existed that identified how lifelong learning institutes address the issue of information literacy training. This study examined current practices and developed a model for promoting information literacy skills for LLI students at community colleges. Interviews, a questionnaire, and supporting documents were used to collect the data from five community colleges in two southern New England states for this qualitative multiple case study investigation. Based on the study findings and the literature, a best practice model of an information literacy training process for LLI students was developed. The need for awareness and outreach, rather than teaching information literacy skills, was the most significant finding. As a result, the best practice model was a process, given the acronym POINTERS. This process suggests ways of developing information literacy skills in older adult learners, and includes library orientations, hotlinks to Internet-based information, on-line tutorials, and specific training modules. POINTERS contains the key elements of being interactive, accessible, and flexible, which are necessary for any information literacy training process to work in an education program for older adult learners.

Subject Area

Higher education|Adult education|Continuing education|Library science

Recommended Citation

Gelbwasser, Sherry E, "Information literacy for lifelong learning institute students: Determining a best-practice model" (2004). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3124559.