Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to assess the avenues through which traditional notions of information literacy skills shape oral communication curriculum and to identify steps that can be taken to transform the experience of students in the public speaking classroom so that they are offered an opportunity to develop understandings of how they use information to learn.
Approach – This chapter engages in an analysis of teaching materials and best practice scholarship used in the traditional college public speaking classroom. An informed learning perspective is applied to this corpus to identify the ways in which an information literacy skills approach is reflected in current practice.
Findings – The analysis highlights the prevalence of an information literacy skills approach throughout the oral communication curriculum. Textbooks, assignment types and guidelines, along with grading rubrics and instructor feedback all perpetuate a skills approach. Outside class support, including peer tutors and library instruction, also contribute to a focus on information literacy over informed learning.
Implications – Informed learners are better prepared to engage and apply information across contexts and to use information to continue learning. Informed learners are reflective on the knowledge they gain through information use. Therefore, this chapter concludes that public speaking courses, along with the communication centers and libraries that support oral communication instruction, should embrace an informed learning approach to the development of course materials, assignments, and teaching.
Originality/value – Suggestions for reframing public speaking curriculum and support from the informed learning perspective are provided.
Leek, D.R. and Brown, C.J. (2019), "Beyond Information Literacy: Rethinking Approaches to the College Public Speaking Curriculum", Ranger, K.L. (Ed.) Informed Learning Applications: Insights from Research and Practice (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 46), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 37-49. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0065-283020190000046004
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