IREX information literacy L2D methodology is proving vital during the war in Ukraine

IREX information literacy L2D methodology is proving vital during the war in Ukraine

Katie Strine


Cartoon infographic of media literacy hashtags

Russian propaganda’s impact has been exacerbated by the recent invasion and war in Ukraine. IREX’s information and media literacy program, Learn to Discern (L2D), has trained a total of 3,612 eighth, ninth, and tenth grade teachers in Ukraine since 2018. The results of an online survey conducted in April show that teachers have been using L2D tools in the rapidly evolving media and information landscape to fight back.

The Learn to Discern in Education (L2D-Ed) program works with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science to integrate critical information consumption skills into existing secondary school curricula and teacher training programs at pre- and in-service teacher training institutes.  IREX and our partners have trained more than 3,612 eighth and ninth grade teachers and equipped them with L2D-Ed resources and instructional guidance to use in their courses that build resilience skills in over 84,000 students.

L2D-Ed was designed to build long-term resilience to information manipulation in Ukrainian society. After the full-scale war launched by Russia on February 24, 2022, L2D-Ed’s trained teachers are quickly adapting. They are using tools for immediate and rapid purposes to safeguard the information space from lies, curb the spread of deadly narratives, and continue to provide stability and support to their students by teaching despite the war.

L2D methodology remains effective and is proving vital in war times

After hearing from multiple educators about the need for more resources, the demand for L2D workshops and tools, and about creative and inspirational ways in which they apply what they learned from the program, L2D-Ed program recognized the need to document this learning and resourcefulness. The team also saw this as an opportunity to better understand the role of L2D in the information space during the war and the changes in information engagement. From April 4-April 13, L2D-Ed reached out to teachers and school administrators who have been participating in the trainings since 2018 with an online survey.  A total of 354 responses were analyzed. The results include the following highlights:

  • 99% of teachers report that L2D helped them navigate the information space during the war.
  • 93% of teachers discussed the topic of media and information literacy at least once since the invasion with students, partners, and others.
  • 90% of teachers helped other people analyze information. Most of them were helping their family, friends, and colleagues.

I’ve been fighting online – I was striking hostile YouTube channels, reporting hostile pages on social networks and messengers, posting true information about the war on the pages of educational, cultural, Russian science institutions in Google Maps, etc. I was trying to involve as many educators as possible in this process.

L2D Ukraine teacher

Teachers and school administrators are deploying the skills and knowledge learned through the L2D-Ed trainings to navigate the treacherous information space and pass on this knowledge to other people. The ripple effect of the teachers’ actions will be felt far beyond the cohorts of trained teachers as they are helping others make informed decisions about their safety and livelihoods. These results also humble and inspire the L2D-Ed team to continue providing support, resources, tools, and safe and convenient ways for teachers to connect and share their expertise.