Questions about digital literacy at work

Whose responsibility is it to teach digital literacy at work?

Do we need our workforce to be digitally literate?

How does digital literacy enable our people to be more effective?

Who decides the standards for digital literacy?

Is digital literacy the next step to social inclusion?

Is digital literacy more of a competency for some businesses than others?

What technologies are we talking about when we say you need to be digitally literate?

If L&D are producing learning solutions which are technology based, is it their responsibility to develop digital literacy skills?

If the systems for work need upgrading to new systems, is that digital literacy or not?

If the organisation is using internal or enterprise social networks, is that exclusive to those who know how to use those networks?

If the Exec Team aren’t using digital technologies, are they showing poor leadership?

If the organisation isn’t using social media, are they digitally redundant? Or digitally illiterate?

If someone hasn’t had to use any form of digital technology for their job for 30 years, why do they need to start now?

How do we teach people to be digitally responsible?

If the organisation develops an app for its customers, are they excluding everyone who doesn’t have access to the app?

So. Many. Questions.

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Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

3 thoughts on “Questions about digital literacy at work”

  1. Good questions – they reflect some of the discussion we’ve been having around the exploring social learning mooc we started last week.

    How do you balance giving people useful features to get stuff done in better ways, against bewildering them with new interfaces and log in screens?

    I think there are some interesting new theories to explore in this area, heutagogy and paragogy for example. These are about self-directed and peer to peer learning, which are both enabled by better digital literacy skills.

    So back to your questions, is it the role of the training department to help people develop these skills? Ideally they should be learning them at school, but clearly many people left school before digital literacy was even a thing. If we want the advantages that these approaches can bring we have to support people to learn how. It’s clearly possible – nobody new how to use email when it came out and look at us now.

  2. Good questions, Sukh. Couldn’t you ask them of current communications practices within organisations? I’d start by asking ‘What is digital literacy?’ I’m not sure that is clear. I’d then focus on content, communication and engagement using social technologies. The skills to use them can be developed over time. This can be more effective and cheaper than current comms initiatives too and that is where it should be getting traction. It saves time and money. Is this a learning thing? Yes, if you believe sharing useful info and connecting people are a part of learning. My question to all orgs would be: Why is email offered as your default communication tool? (Orgs have a choice in how they communicate they just don’t seem to realise it)

  3. I think the digital responsibility question can be answered by Induction (and Reinduction of existing staff). If Induction can be viewed as at least a summary of “how we do things around here” then digital “stuff” should be covered even if the business isn’t embracing it as much as others might be.

    I’d prefer Induction to cover the topic in terms of this is why we do it, this is why it’s great, this is who you speak to if you need a bit of coaching or advice oh and by the way don’t do daft things with it…like this…or else. Frankly my guess is that many HR people start with the latter point via policy or whatever. People doing daft things with it is a problem though, at the root of many ET claims for example.

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