Home » Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session (Spring 2019) » Skilled Up: Teaching Digital & Information Literacy to Adult Students for Successful College and Career Transitions


ACRL DLS Chair: Natalie Haber
Vice-Chair: Amanda Ziegler
Secretary: Stephanie Espinoza Villamor
Archivist: Andrea Hebert
Webmasters: Katie Stewart and Matthew Stevons (dlswebcontact@gmail.com)
Members-at-Large: Karla Aleman and Jennifer Rundels

Skilled Up: Teaching Digital & Information Literacy to Adult Students for Successful College and Career Transitions

This poster is part of the Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session hosted by the ACRL DLS Instruction Committee. We encourage you to ask questions and engage in discussion on this poster! Authors will respond to comments between April 1-5.


Arden Kirkland, Syracuse University and S. Michele Echols, ASA College

Poster Description:

The transition to online learning is not always smooth for adult learners. How can we help them?


(Click play to view Prezi. Prezi may not work with Internet Explorer.)

About the Presenters

Arden Kirkland is an independent digital librarian, providing services for digital collections and online learning. She is an Adjunct Instructor for the iSchool at Syracuse University. As Project Coordinator for the IMLS-funded Design for Learning program, she developed a series of online modules to teach librarians how to teach online.

S. Michele Echols is an accomplished librarian, currently an Adjunct Instructor at ASA College where she passionately works with the adult student. Always one to multi-task, Echols is starting her own business while pursuing her Ed.D. She will provide career consulting to adult learners assisting them with career advancement.”


  1. Thank you for a very informative poster! I have not heard of the SkilledUp model but it looks very useful for defining skills. At the very end you mention connecting the Framework to the College and Career Readiness standards. Do you have any initial thoughts on how that might work? Do you see any other applications for this model in teaching information literacy skills?

  2. Thank you for this poster. As an academic librarian, I have experienced anecdotally much of what your poster covers. I also appreciated the stackable skills graphic. You all broke down the skill levels and tasks well.

    • Hi Hilary,

      Thank you for your comment. I am glad that you have used a lot of the information we presented in the poster.

  3. Good morning Jen,
    Thank you for your comments. Skilled Up is our model and we have incorporated some of the standards that are available for the adult education community.
    Yes, in the past I have aligned the CCRS when teaching information and digital literacy skills to adult students.
    There are many different ways you can use the model one way I have used CCRS has been with the ACRL’s framework.

  4. I love this poster and your Skilled Up framework! I also love your references and how you built off of higher education demographic data available. Truly amazing! Do you have specific ideas of how we as librarians could incorporate this framework with our online learning objects and/or online information literacy courses?

    • Thanks for your comments, Samantha! We are still in the early stages of this specific project, so it helps us to hear what parts are useful (or not). The demographics are indeed very important; we’ve shared ones that show the big picture, but of course you must consider the specific demographics for your own institution.

      I think one of the main ways to incorporate this model is not to start at too high a level until you have verified with your students that they’re ready for it: don’t assume that they’re bringing specific prior experience from their high school education. Make sure, either through some form of pre-test or observation, conversation, etc., that they have the skills at the lower levels of our stair-step model before working with them on skills at the higher levels. Another important factor is that many aspects of digital literacy need to precede information literacy when a student’s main source of information is digital. They really need to be seen hand-in-hand.

  5. Wow!! Your poster is amazing!! In that it being super informative. As as academic librarian, I have encountered many of the issues you state. How have you implemented your research into your online programs?

    • Thanks, Ruth! Michele and I have found it very helpful to “compare notes” on these issues, and from your comments and others it sounds like others are observing the same issues.

      We’re still in the early stages of this work, so for now our implementation has been largely one-on-one, recognizing these gaps with individual students and using office hours to help them gradually work their way up through different skills. I have found it to be really important to make it clear to students that there’s no shame in asking for help, or in recognizing that they may not have certain skills, because they’re all coming from different prior experiences, and that’s ok as long as they are willing to work to fill in the gaps. Of course, they also have to recognize that it does take time. Currently, I have seen much of this burden placed on the student, to seek out this extra help, so we are developing a more robust (and relevant) orientation curriculum.

      We both have experimented with variations on the Learning Circle format as developed by P2PU, and have found the mix of in-person social interaction with online learning to be extremely beneficial when learners are new to online formats. Online learners often seek out online classes to avoid the scheduling / geographic difficulties with being in person, but for developing and assessing these basic skills, face to face or live video chat meetings can make all the difference.

  6. Thanks, everyone, for your comments and questions so far!

    Now, some questions for you:
    As we continue to develop our “SkilledUp” model, we thought the stair-step visual would help with that. Is it clear enough? The skills mentioned there are meant to be examples, not every skill we are addressing as we develop our curriculum. As examples, do they show enough range to get the overall ideas across? Is there anything you would recommend we add, or subtract, from your own experience with adult learners?

  7. Hello Linda,

    Thanks for inquiring about a non-Prezi format, unfortunately at this current time we do not have one available.


  8. This is great – our school caters entirely to adult learners and I encounter many of the challenges you address.

  9. Hi Kristen,

    Yes, we encounter a lot of challenges working with adult learners. Yet, I find working with adults very rewarding.

    Thank you for your comment.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *