Goals and Learning Objectives

The original metaliteracy goals and learning objectives were developed in 2014. They were revised in 2018 to address a radically increased prevalence of disturbing behaviors and norms connected to the information environment. For example, both the first and second objectives under Goal 1 were added because of these concerns: “Verify expertise but acknowledge that experts do exist” and “Acknowledge that content is not always produced for legitimate reasons, and that biases exist, both subtle and overt.” In addition, there was some change in the placement. The objective that learners are also teachers, for example, moved from Goal 4, which is connected to lifelong learning, to Goal 3, on the production and sharing of information.

Below are the most up to date goals and learning objectives that were revised in 2018. The 2014 set is available here.

Developing Metaliterate Learners

There are four goals for metaliterate learners, each of which includes a number of learning objectives. While some of the metaliteracy goals echo long-valued information literacy principles, others are new, reflecting today’s evolving information environment.  Most of the specific learning objectives range much further afield from traditional information literacy, providing outcomes that could be applied in a range of educational settings.

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 learning objective below fits into one or more of these categories, and is labeled as such (B for behavioral, C for cognitive, A for affective, M for metacognitive).

These 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: Actively evaluate content while also evaluating one’s own biases

  1. Verify expertise but acknowledge that experts do exist. (A, C)
  2. Acknowledge that content is not always produced for legitimate reasons, and that biases exist, both subtle and overt. (C)
  3. Reflect on how you feel about information or an information environment to consider multiple perspectives. (A, M)
  4. Consciously seek information from a spectrum of viewpoints and sources. (B)
  5. Determine how a source’s purpose, document type, and delivery mode affect its value for a particular situation. (B, C)
  6. Distinguish between editorial commentary and a research-based perspective, recognizing that values and beliefs are embedded in all information. (C)
  7. Determine the value of formal and informal information from diverse online sources, such as scholarly, user-generated, and OERs. (C)
  8. Evaluate user-generated information in social media environments and differentiate between opinion and fact.(B, C)
  9. Critically assess information from all sources, including dynamic content that circulates online. (B)
  10. Examine how you feel about the information presented and how this impacts your response. (A, M)

Goal 2: Engage with all intellectual property ethically and responsibly

  1. Differentiate between producing original information and remixing openly licensed content. (C)
  2. Responsibly produce and share original information and ethically remix and repurpose openly licensed content. (B)
  3. Distinguish between public and personal information and make ethical and informed decisions about appropriately sharing information online. (C)
  4. Differentiate between copyright, Creative Commons, and open licenses in both the creation and licensing of original and repurposed content. (B, C)
  5. Identify and follow the specific intellectual property attribution expectations in the setting in which you are working. (B, C)

Goal 3: Produce and share information in collaborative and participatory environments

  1. See oneself as a producer as well as consumer of information. (A, M)
  2. Participate conscientiously and ethically in collaborative environments. (B)
  3. Protect personal privacy and actively secure your online information. (B, C)
  4. Share knowledge accurately and effectively through the production of content using appropriate and evolving formats and platforms. (B)
  5. Translate information presented in one manner to another in order to best meet the needs of a particular audience. (B, C)
  6. Recognize that learners are also teachers and teach what you know or learn in collaborative settings. (A, B, C)
  7. Critically evaluate and verify user-generated content and appropriately apply in new knowledge creation. (B, C)
  8. Recognize diverse cultural values and norms to create and share information for global audiences. (B, C)

Goal 4: Develop learning strategies to meet lifelong personal and professional goals

  1. Recognize that learning is a process and that reflecting on errors or mistakes leads to new insights and discoveries. (M)
  2. Assess learning to determine both the knowledge gained and the gaps in understanding. (C, M)
  3. Recognize that critical thinking depends upon knowledge of a subject and actively pursue deeper understanding through inquiry and research. (A, B, C, M)
  4. Value persistence, adaptability, and flexibility in lifelong learning. (M)
  5. Adapt to new learning situations while being flexible about the varied approaches to learning. (A, B)
  6. Adapt to and understand new technologies and the impact they have on learning. (A, B)
  7. Effectively communicate and collaborate in shared spaces to learn from multiple perspectives. (B, C)
  8. Engage in informed, self-directed learning that encourages a broader worldview through the global reach of today’s social media environment. (B, M)
  9. Apply metaliterate learning as a lifelong value and practice. (M)

Originally 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 http://crl.acrl.org/content/72/1/62.full.pdf+html

Michele Forte (Empire State College), Trudi Jacobson (University at Albany), Tom Mackey (Empire State College), Emer O’Keeffe (University at Albany), and Kathleen Stone (Empire State College)

Additional Contributors: Richard Fogarty (University at Albany), Brian Morgan and Kim Davies-Hoffman (SUNY Geneseo), Jennifer Ashton and Logan Rath (SUNY Brockport), Carleen Huxley (Jefferson Community College), and Nancy E. Adams (Penn State Hershey)


Updated by Trudi Jacobson (University at Albany), Tom Mackey (Empire State College), and Kelsey O’Brien (University at Albany), April 11, 2018.

11 thoughts on “Goals and Learning Objectives

  1. I really like the direction your research is taking the field. These learning objectives are moving closer to an epistemology that can ground literacy instruction in the scholarly foundation we need. Well done.

    • We understand the point you are making. Since this item is under goal 3, “Share information and collaborate in a variety of participatory environments,” this is the context we had in mind. Would changing the phrase to “understand the potential impact of online tools in order to facilitate sharing and collaboration” clarify this?

      • A little bit. I wonder if you could give examples of “online tools” as you did in LO #3 with “information formats.” Or are they they same? Also, does “potential impact” refer to the potential reception and dissemination of information transmitted via these tools?

  2. A little bit. I wonder if you could give examples of “online tools” as you did in LO #3 with “information formats.” Or are they they same? Also, does “potential impact” refer to the potential reception and dissemination of information transmitted via these tools?

    • Nancy, we made a change to this item (which is now LO #6 under Goal 3) based on your feedback, providing examples that we hope will clarify the LO. Yes, your interpretation of potential impact is what we had in mind.

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