College students unprepared to navigate internet

Or, rather: students are quite good at navigating online for entertainment, purchasing retail products, finding music, and the like–but they’re not effective at using the internet (and other information resources) to dig deep, undertake critical analysis, and answer tough questions through more serious research. “they…expected job candidates to be patient and persistent researchers and to be able to retrieve information in a variety of formats, identify patterns within an array of sources, and dive deeply into source material.” Librarians teach “information literacy” skills for just these purposes.

An opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education published July 7, 2014 titled “At Sea in a Deluge of Data” by Alison J. Head and John Wihbey reports on the results of a recent employer survey, the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2014 Survey (the survey available for purchase via this link):

Many employers said their fresh-from-college hires frequently lack deeper and more traditional skills in research and analysis. Instead, the new workers default to quick answers plucked from the Internet. That method might be fine for looking up a definition or updating a fact, but for many tasks, it proved superficial and incomplete. It turns out that students are poorly trained in college to effectively navigate the Internet’s indiscriminate glut of information.

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