Checking and acknowledging online communications, searching for information, accessing cloud based files, understanding internal network management systems…
Nowadays being digitally literate is not just an asset but also a necessity; a requirement to navigating and working in the modern world in which we live.
What defines digital literacy?
• Casey & Bruce (2010) define digital literacy as, ‘the awareness attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools and facilities to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, analyse and synthesise digital resources, construct new knowledge, create media…’
• Digital literacy covers numerous interrelated skills. These range from basic awareness and training used to create and build consumer and user confidence to highly sophisticated and complex creative and critical literacies and outcomes. Given the constantly evolving nature of technology and globalisation, acquisition of digital literacy skills represents a process of lifelong learning (MNet, 2010)
Why digital literacy is crucial to your career:
• Changing workplaces
Certainly, there are multiple differing levels of digital literacy, as there is with standard reading and writing literacy, however having a grasp of basic digital skills is becoming a pre-requisite for jobs in the future. According to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (2013) it is predicted that 13 out of 19 of Australia’s industry sectors (nearly 70%) will be either transformed or derive significant benefits from ICT (Information and Communications Technology) by 2050. ICT skills and digital literacy have been identified as important for all workers not just those engaged in specialist ICT roles.
Employers desire individuals with the skills to make a productive start immediately in a new role. The majority believe digital skills improve employee efficiency and increase business productivity. BCS, the chartered institute for IT, conducted a survey in 2014 and found that:
- 81% of employers regard digital skills to be an important requirement when employing people
- 97% felt email skills are important to the majority of roles in their organisation, along with:
o Word processing (92%)
o Spreadsheets (89%)
o Social media (71%)
- 68% rated increased efficiency as one of the top two benefits of digital literacy for employees.
A 2010 industry study (ALBA Study) demonstrates how ICT-trained employees are more efficient particularly in that they are able to work at a faster rate making fewer mistakes. The time supervisors and other colleagues spend dealing with employee difficulties is halved in situations in which employees have been trained. Companies also receive benefits through obtaining a more accurate knowledge about employee skill levels therefore enabling them to deploy employees more effectively.
EDCL (2015) shares a table giving an example of the difference between employees that are digital literate with those that are not:
In summary, digital literacy is no longer the once optional asset that it used to be. In many situations nowadays having a firm grasp of digital skills is becoming a pre requisite for employment. Many employers recognise the vast array of benefits that digitally literate employees can provide.
How much of a focus do you place on digital literacy within your workplace?
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay