Skip to Main Content
Research problem: A construct mediated in digital environments, information communication technology (ICT) literacy is operationally defined as the ability of individuals to participate effectively in transactions that invoke illocutionary action. This study investigates ICT literacy through a simulation designed to capture that construct, to deploy the construct model to measure participant improvement of ICT literacy under experimental conditions, and to estimate the potential for expanded model development. Research questions: How might a multidisciplinary literature review inform a model for ICT literacy? How might a simulation be designed that enables sufficient construct representation for modeling? How might prepost testing simulation be designed to investigate the potential for improved command of ICT literacy? How might a regression model account for variance within the model by the addition of affective elements to a cognitive model? Literature review: Existing conceptualizations of the ICT communication environment demonstrate the need for a new communication model that is sensitive to short text messaging demands in crisis communication settings. As a result of this prefect storm of limits requiring the communicator to rely on critical thinking, awareness of context, and information integration, we designed a cognitive-affective model informed by genre theory to capture the ICT construct: A sociocognitive ability that, at its most effective, facilitates illocutionary action-to confirm and warn, to advise and ask, and to thank and request-for specific audiences of emergency responders. Methodology: A prepost design with practitioner subjects (N=50) allowed investigation of performance improvement on tasks demanding illocutionary action after training on tasks of high, moderate, and low demand. Through a model based on the independent variables character count, wordcount, and decreased time on task (X) as related to the dependent variable of- an overall episode score (Y), we were able to examine the internal construct strength with and without the addition of affective independent variables. Results and discussion: Of the three prepost models used to study the impact of training, participants demonstrated statistically significant improvement on episodes of high demand on all cognitive model variables. The addition of affective variables, such as attitudes toward text messaging, allowed increased model strength on tasks of high and moderate complexity. These findings suggest that an empirical basis for the construct of ICT literacy is possible and that, under simulation conditions, practitioner improvement may be demonstrated. Practically, it appears that it is possible to train emergency responders to improve their command of ICT literacy so that those most in need of humanitarian response during a crisis may receive it. Future research focusing on communication in digital environments will undoubtedly extend these finding in terms of construct validation and deployment in crisis settings.