Metaliteracy learning falls into four domains: behavioral (what students should be able to do upon successful completion of learning activities—skills, competencies), cognitive (what students should know upon successful completion of learning activities—comprehension, organization, application, evaluation), affective (changes in learners’ emotions or attitudes through engagement with learning activities), and metacognitive (what learners think about their own thinking—a reflective understanding of how and why they learn, what they do and do not know, their preconceptions, and how to continue to learn). Each aspect of the main metaliteracy learning goals presented below applies to one or more of these categories, and is labeled as such (B for behavioral, C for cognitive, A for affective, M for metacognitive).

The learning objectives recognize that metaliterate “learners,” as they are called here, must learn continually, given the constantly and rapidly evolving information landscape. Instructors and learners can meet these objectives in a variety of ways, depending on the learning context, choosing from a menu of learning activities. The objectives are conceived broadly, so as to remain scalable, reproducible, and accessible in a range of contexts.

Goal 1: Evaluate content critically, including dynamic, online content that changes and evolves, such as article preprints, blogs, and wikis.

  1. Place an information source in its context (for example, author’s purpose, format of information, and delivery mode) in order to ascertain the value of the material for that particular situation. (B, C)
  2. Distinguish between editorial commentary and information presented from a more research-based perspective, recognizing that values and beliefs are embedded in all information. (C)
  3. Determine the value of formal and informal information from various networked sources (scholarly, user-generated, OERs, etc.). (C)
  4. Evaluate user response as an active researcher; understand the differing natures of feedback mechanisms and context in traditional and social media platforms. (B, C)
  5. Appreciate the importance of assessing content from different sources, including dynamic content from social media, critically. (A)

Goal 2: Understand personal privacy, information ethics, and intellectual property issues in changing technology environments.

  1. Differentiate between the production of original information and remixing or re-purposing open resources. (C)
  2. Distinguish the kinds of information appropriate to reproduce and share publicly, and private information disseminated in more restricted/discreet environments. (C)
  3. Use technology to build a positive web presence. (B)
  4. Apply copyright and Creative Commons licensing as appropriate to the creation of original or repurposed information. (B)
  5. Recognize the ethical considerations of sharing information. (A)

Goal 3: Share information and collaborate in a variety of participatory environments.

  1. Participate conscientiously in collaborative environments. (B)
  2. Take responsibility for participation in collaborative environments. (A)
  3. Compare the unique attributes of different information formats (e.g., scholarly article, blog, wiki, online community), and have the ability to use these effectively and to cite information for the development of original content. (B)
  4. Describe the potential impact of online resources for sharing information (text, images, video, and other media) in collaboration with others. (A)
  5. Demonstrate the ability to translate information presented in one manner to another in order to best meet the needs of particular audiences; integrate information from multiple sources into coherent new forms. (M, C)
  6. Effectively communicate personal and professional experiences to inform and assist others; and recognize that learners can also be teachers. (A, B)
  7. Produce original content appropriate to specific needs in multiple media formats; transfer knowledge gained to new formats in unpredictable and evolving environments. (B)
  8. Value user-generated content and critically evaluate contributions made by others: see self as a producer, as well as consumer, of information. (A)
  9. Be open to global perspectives; use communication with others in a global context to encourage deep learning. (A)

Goal 4: Demonstrate ability to connect learning and research strategies with lifelong learning processes and personal, academic, and professional goals.

  1. Determine scope of the question or task required to meet one’s needs. (C)
  2. Reevaluate needs and next steps throughout the process. (C)
  3. Demonstrate the importance of matching information needs and search strategies to appropriate search tools. (C)
  4. Use self-reflection to assess one’s own learning and knowledge of the learning process. (M)
  5. Demonstrate the ability to think critically in context and to transfer critical thinking to new learning. (M)
  6. Value persistence, adaptability, and flexibility. (M)
  7. Communicate effectively with collaborators in shared spaces and learn from multiple points of view. (M)
  8. Recognize that learning is a process and that reflecting on errors or mistakes leads to new insights and discoveries. (M)
  9. Engage in informed, self-directed learning that encourages a broader worldview through the global reach of today’s information technology. (M)
  10. Demonstrate self-empowerment through interaction and the presentation of ideas; gain the ability to see what is transferable, translatable, and teachable (learners are both students and teachers). (M)
  11. Conclude that metaliteracy is a lifelong value and practice. (M)

Developed by participants involved in the SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant, Developing a SUNY-wide Transliteracy Learning Collaborative to Promote Information and Technology Competencies for the 21st Century, based on objectives in Mackey and Jacobson, Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy, C & RL, 72.1 January 2011

Contributors: Michele Forte, Tom Mackey, Kathleen Stone (Empire State College); Trudi Jacobson, Richard Fogarty, Emer O’Keeffe (University at Albany); Brian Morgan and Kim Davies-Hoffman (SUNY Geneseo); Jennifer Ashton, Logan Rath (SUNY Brockport); Carleen Huxley (Jefferson Community College)

The most up to date version can be found at


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The Information Literacy User’s Guide: An Open, Online Textbook Copyright © 2014 by Deborah Bernnard, Greg Bobish, Jenna Hecker, Irina Holden, Allison Hosier, Trudi Jacobson, Tor Loney, and Daryl Bullis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.