Cognitive Growth, Instruction, and Student Success

  • Budd J
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As Diane Zabel points out, the literature on information literacy is voluminous.1 Amidst the challenges of volume and multiple points of view, there are some astute observations, innovative approaches, and critical assessment. Of necessity, the works referred to here do not represent the expanse or the diversity of thought on information literacy, but they will offer a substantive grounding for the present study. A seemingly logical place to begin is the standards on information literacy propounded by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).2 These standards address the importance of identifying an information need, the skill required to use structured resources, and the critical acumen necessary to the evaluation of retrieved information. We can probably stipulate for the time being that the content of the standards is necessary, but is it sufficient? That is, are the standards and the accompanying performance indicators exhaustive with regard to the goals of an instruction program? The answer suggested here is no; there are some essential factors that are not included in the standards and that may even be at odds with some specific points articulated by ACRL. What will be presented here is an alternative conceptual framework that can be called “phenomenological cognitive action.” The framework and its name are original to this work, although some particular ideas are borrowed from a variety of philosophers and cognitive scientists. The framework is examined within the context of a newly created course, offered in the fall semester 2006 at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Since much of the course includes aspects that follow from the intent of the ACRL Standards (the necessary elements), the focus here will be on those elements that illustrate the framework.

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  • John M. Budd

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