Why Digital Literacy Is Critical In eLearning

Why Digital Literacy Is Critical In eLearning
Summary: Digital literacy has become part of our lives. We easily navigate on the web, searching for articles and videos, and sharing information with our friends. These tasks seem easy, however they are not that easy for everyone. There are still many people for whom the web is a confusing, dark space. Digital skills should be part of education to ensure that every student, independent from age and background, can equally participate and benefit from the infinite knowledge of the web.

Digital Literacy And eLearning  

Digital literacy has been dubbed as a fourth literacy. Whereas reading, writing, and mathematics are considered as the cornerstone of being literate, literacy in this day is not complete if a person is not capable of accessing and creating digital information. Therefore it is important to talk about digital literacy in education and eLearning.

Digital literacy is strongly connected with eLearning and is highly relevant to contemporary educators. As an educator, you try to prepare your students for their life after education. The aim is not only to inspire and convey the necessary knowledge: You also want to equip them with the right tools for their future careers. Socially, as well as academically, their future calls for technological knowledge and digital skills, as an increasing number of our daily-life activities are executed with web based tools.

Digital Citizens 

  1. Today we find ourselves on a flipside of students who are digital immigrants as well as digital natives. Naturally, our “immigrants” are students who got acquainted with technology in their scholarly past, whereas natives have not known education without computers. Both groups find themselves to be very adaptable to computerized education, and are now being introduced to eLearning.
  2. However, we should by any means not exclude those who are digitally illiterate. Think of seniors trying to study again, or are in need of re-training to improve their professional skills. Imagine educators who have mastered their subject for decades, and are now in difficulty trying to keep up with this digitally emphasized way of teaching. So how do we include those who are now excluded, and integrate them amongst today’s digital citizens?

Digital Literacy Defined  

In order to know if someone's digital skills suffice, we should understand criteria for literacy. To determine if a person is digitally literate, we can ask several questions such as: Does the person know how to manage a technological device, or how to go on the hunt for specific information on the web? Is the person aware of online social norms, codes, and perhaps dangers? Is the person able to communicate and collaborate digitally? Also, can a person be creative online, and critical of other information presented?

From Fear To Fascination  

For those who are not digitally literate, technology and the digital world seem like a jungle they can’t pave their way through. To them, the online world seems like an incomprehensible universe they don't want to enter.

However, if you analyze the criteria for digital literacy, you see that the online world is analogous to the face-to-face world everybody knows.

By emphasizing these similarities, one can ensure a digital illiterate person that he or she is already familiar with “what is out there”. It is key to turning their fear to fascination and participation.

Learning For The Future

Lastly, it is important to show how these skills are necessary for their future. Some might argue that eLearning is not necessary for studying. Why not use a traditional library and do everything on paper and eventually know the same things as a student who studies digitally, one might ask. It is because the digital world enables highly efficient studying. Learning online is a highly targeted and fast way of learning. Due to his or her slow pace, a digital illiterate student will be easily overtaken by an effective, digitalized student.

This will not only happen within the classroom, but also in the future job market. For equal chances amongst students of all ages and backgrounds, digital learning is absolute essential.

Have The Right Tools

eFaqt is an online study tool that encourages teachers and students to become more skilled in studying online. In eFaqt teachers can invite their students to study their course together, by creating and sharing content with them. In turn, students can exchange their study material easily in the class and teachers can monitor the progress of the students as they practice!