AI Literacy Research Project

The concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) literacy has become increasingly prominent in recent years. For example, The World Economic Forum in their 2022 report Without universal AI literacy, AI will fail us have promoted the need to foster universal AI literacy and asserts that each of us (students, educators, non-profits, governments, parents, and businesses) needs to become literate about AI, to know when it is being used and be able to evaluate its benefits and limitations in our lives.

As part of this effort, a research project has been set up by academics from three New Zealand higher education institutions – the University of Canterbury, academyEX, and Auckland University of Technology. The project aims to develop an AI literacy curriculum framework that will address all levels of education.

Project Phase 1 – Delphi Study

The first phase of the project has been to undertake a Delphi study of national and international experts to decide what should be the key elements of AI literacy at each of four levels of a capability model. The four levels used were:

  • Level 1: Informed – initial awareness / foundational knowledge.
  • Level 2: Empowered – exploring ideas, reflecting.
  • Level 3: Engaged – implementing and embedding concepts and tools.
  • Level 4: Active Participant – creating/applying AI in transformational ways.

Panel members were chosen from a range of fields and included professionals working in AI, academics, educators, and cultural experts.


Early results from this study, based on the first round of data gathering and focusing on level 1, have already been published at the 2023 ASCILITE conference:

MacCallum, K., Parsons, D., & Mohaghegh, M. (2023, December). Identifying the Components of Foundational Artificial Intelligence (AI) Literacy – Early Results from a Delphi Study. In proceedings ASCILITE 2023. December 3 – 6, 2023, Christchurch, New Zealand.

The study is now in its final phase with the panel critically engaging with the draft framework. Further publications will follow that describe the full framework and compare it to other related work being undertaken elsewhere.

Draft Content

As the content is developed we will share some of the material here for feedback. The output from the final cycle of the Delphi Study is still being compiled, but here is a brief initial summary of Level 1 to give an idea of the areas of knowledge that have been derived from the data, with a brief summary of some indicative content in each.

Please note this is currently a working draft and may be subject to change.

Next Phase

Once the full framework has been published we will be working with educators to explore how it can be applied in practice contexts at each of the different levels.

Related Work

Members of the team are also involved in administering a series of surveys designed to discover the current state of AI literacy in schools and universities in New Zealand to help inform our implementation of the framework. An initial study of AI in education based on a survey of New Zealand teachers can be found in this report