The main difference between information literacy and media literacy is that information literacy is the ability to identify that there is a need for information and locate, evaluate, and use information effectively to solve a problem whereas, media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate, manipulate, and produce media in a variety of forms.
Media literacy and information literacy are two very important skills in this modern digital age. However, there is a great deal of cross over between these terms. Moreover, the combination of these two terms/skills results in the field of information and media literacy.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Information Literacy
– Definition, Features
2. What is Media Literacy
– Definition, Features, Benefits
3. Difference Between Information Literacy and Media Literacy
– Comparison of Key Differences
Information Literacy, Media Literacy
What is Information Literacy
The American Library Association defines information literacy as “a set of abilities requiring individuals to ‘recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.'” An information literate person can effectively find and information, critically evaluate it, and ethically apply that information to solve a problem. Furthermore, to be truly information literate, we must develop an awareness of how to engage with the digital world, how to find meaning in the information found, how to use information ethically, and how to evaluate information for authority and credibility. In addition, we must also understand the role we play in communication.
As a matter of fact, we live in the age of information and have access to many sources of information, including the internet, television, radio, available to us 24 hours a day. However, it’s important to know that just because so much information is easily and quickly available through these sources, not all this information is accurate or worthwhile.
What is Media Literacy
Media literacy is an umbrella term that involves practices allowing people to access, evaluate, manipulate, as well as produce media in a variety of forms. Basically, media literacy can help a person think critically about what they hear, see, or read in media. Furthermore, the term media here refers to a variety of media, including newspapers, magazines, books, radio, television, movies, music, video games, advertising, as well as the internet.
Media literacy involves the ability to decode media messages (understand the message as well as the medium), evaluate the effect of the messages on one’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviour, and create media thoughtfully and responsibly. In addition, learning media literacy has many useful benefits for students.
Benefits of Media Literacy
- Helps to think critically (especially when evaluating the message and medium)
- Helps to recognize various points of view
- Teaches how to create media responsibly
- Teaches how to become a smart consumer of both information and products
- Helps to identify the role of media in culture
- Helps to understand the goal of the media creator
Difference Between Information Literacy and Media Literacy
Information literacy is the ability to identify that there is a need for information and locate, evaluate, and use information effectively to solve a problem whereas media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate, manipulate, and produce media in a variety of forms.
Moreover, information literacy involves understanding where to find information and how to evaluate it (facts vs opinions) and using it effectively. Media literacy, on the other hand, involves how media works and how to produce media.
Information literacy is somewhat related to library science, whereas media literacy is more related to the media industry, media content, and social effects.
The main difference between information literacy and media literacy is that information literacy is the ability to identify that there is a need for information and locate, evaluate, and use information effectively to solve a problem whereas media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate, manipulate, and produce media in a variety of forms.
1. “What Is Media Literacy, and Why Is It Important?” Common Sense Media.
2. “What Is Information Literacy?” Research Guides.
3. “What Is Media Literacy?” Media Literacy Now | Advocating for Media Literacy Education, 29 Oct. 2020.