The UK Government has made clear its expectation that Further and Higher Education will equip learners with a strong foundation of skills and aptitudes to enable them to thrive in an increasingly information-based economy and society.
In the past these aptitudes have gone under the broad terms 'information skills' or 'information literacies'. However, with the convergence of communications and information media, the rise of user-owned technologies, user-created content and widespread social networking practices, this term may need to be broadened to encompass new kinds of expertise.
We are defining the totality of this expertise as 'the range of practices that underpin effective learning in a digital age'.
Unless these forms of practice are actively developed by institutions and teaching teams, learners will struggle to reach their full potential. The UK economy will be hampered by a lack of high-level skills and a dearth of future capacity. And the promise behind costly initiatives such as open content, high speed research networks and personalised learning environments will fail to be fulfilled.
The future demands skilled, digitally-aware learners with the capacity to participate in learning across their lifepath, using the technologies of their own choosing.
The JISC funded LLiDA study took some initial steps towards defining: