Six Big Skills

The year 2010 is coming at us like a train exponentially increasing in speed and size. Many educators and researchers have tried to define 21st century skills. Some of us have even discussed if ‘21st century skills’ is the correct way to define the skills we are talking about. One group of researchers Michael B. Eisenberg, Doug Johnson wrote an article back in 2002 describing the skills in question. Although the article is now about to be eight years old, the suggestions within the article are still very pertinent to the discussion today. It helps answer the question, what skills will students need to be successful in the 21st century?

The stand out portion of the article is a section defined as “Technology Skills for Information Problem Solving”, which is was originally written by Michael B. Eisenberg, Doug Johnson and Robert E. Berkowitz in a title called Information problem-solving : the Big Six Skills approach to library & information skills instruction The authors break down these skills into six large groups that they refer to as the Big 6 Skills.

The Big 6

  1. Task Definition
  2. Information Seeking Strategies
  3. Location and Access
  4. Use of Information
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation

One thing to note about the Big 6 Skills, is that they are not technology oriented skills. Technology may be used to accomplish the development of the skills, but the skills themselves are not directly related to technology.

The authors further break down the Big 6 skills into specific objectives or tasks that students must understand or be able to complete. The list is quite extensive, and it would not be suggested that the entire list be incorporated into a course. However, this is a great resource to help instructors pick and choose skills they wish to incorporate into their course so that students are also developing skills that are needed in the 21st century workplace.

ERIC Identifier: ED465377
Publication Date: 2002-09-00
Author: Eisenberg, Michael B.  & Johnson, Doug
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology Syracuse NY.

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