A world of information at their fingertips: College students' motivations and practices in their self-determined information seeking

L. Nadelson
R. Cain
M. Cromwell
J. Edgington
Furse Joseph, Utah State University
A. Hofmannova
E. Lund
J. Matyi
S. Morris
C. Sais
T. Xie


People frequently engage in the process of “heutagogy” (i.e., self-determined learning). Unlike pedagogy and andragogy, heutagogy occurs without a structure or leader setting the context and directing the learning toward a specific goal. The lack of structure and the possible self-determination of topic, value, source, and trust in information led us to wonder about the motivations, goals, and processes considered by college students as they engage in self-determined learning. We conducted a survey with 83 American college students regarding their information-seeking preferences and behaviors. Some students reported accessing different media depending on what information they were seeking, while others sought multiple forms of information from the same media. Family and community influenced their trust in media, yet they also recognized experts and data as important justifications for credibility of media. We exposed some relationships among personal characteristics, perceptions of information, and self-determined learning activities. We conclude with implications and directions for future research.