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  • Anne Pemberton

Chicken or the Egg? Defining "Metaliteracy" and a Model

I cannot remember if I saw Mackey and Jacobson’s Metaliteracy Model and then looked for a definition of "metaliteracy" or I saw a definition of metaliteracy and I then looked for a model to help me understand the concept.


Below I provide information about their model as I understand it. I will attempt to define metaliteracy in another post.


Thomas Mackey and Trudi Jacobson are metaliteracy rock stars and the creators of this model. You can learn about them on their metaliteracy.org website: https://metaliteracy.org/about/.


They introduced a model of metaliteracy in 2011 and along with a little help from their friends, updated it in 2018. There are plenty o' articles, blog postings, books, conference presentations, MOOCs, and more that discuss this model and/or its applications to a variety of disciplines and contexts. Mackey and Jacobson are of course the most prolific authors. The following attempts to explain the components of the 2018 model (at least as I understand it).


Here is a visual created by Mackey and Jacobson that illustrates the model in its entirety:

Integrated Metaliterate Learner Figure (Mackey & Jacobson, Metaliterate Learners as Producers, 2021) (Figure design by Kelsey O’Brien using Genially) https://metaliteracy.org/ml-in-practice/integrated-metaliterate-learner-figure/


Included in the visual above, here are the components of the model:


Metaliteracy Goals and Learning Objectives (4)

Goal 1: Actively evaluate content while also evaluating one’s own biases

Goal 2: Engage with all intellectual property ethically and responsibly

Goal 3: Produce and share information in collaborative and participatory environments

Goal 4: Develop learning strategies to meet lifelong personal and professional goals


Metaliteracy Learning Domains: Metacognitive, Affective, Cognitive, Behavioral (4) Metaliterate Learner Roles: Participant, Communicator, Translator, Author, Teacher, Collaborator, Producer, Publisher, and Researcher (9)

Metaliterate Learner Characteristics: Productive, Informed, Collaborative, Participatory, Reflective, Civic Minded, Adaptable, and Open (8)


The metaliteracy.org site provides a wealth of information:


- You can explore the learning domains (inner circle) here: https://metaliteracy.org/ml-in-practice/what-is-metaliteracy/

- You can explore the learner characteristics (middle circle) here: https://metaliteracy.org/ml-in-practice/metaliterate-learner-characteristics/ and https://view.genial.ly/5d77e941d705a10ff86bf7a1

- You can explore the learner roles (outer circle) here: https://metaliteracy.org/ml-in-practice/metaliterate-learner-roles/ and http://alenaprojects.s3-us-east-2.amazonaws.com/Portfolio/MetaliterateLearner/story_html5.html


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