Defining Literacy Part 2: For the Intermediate User

Digital Literacy for the Intermediate.
Moving away from consuming to producing digital content

This post investigates the skills that an intermediate digital learner needs. Understanding and defining the needs of an intermediate digital leaner is problematic because each individual comes with their own set of personal goals and needs.

The intermediate digital learner is a person having some digital literacy skills but, are in the process of transitioning from a digital consumer to a digital creator.

The term digital divide encapsulates the idea of a digital barrier, and I have always thought that the divide meant a limited access to the Internet. What I discovered was that it is a broader term encompassing the idea of inequality in digital skills.

Where life skills and digital skills intersect, are we at the point that it no longer makes sense to talk about them separately?

How do we start to think about the essential skills someone needs to possess to be both a consumer and producer of digital material?

The unassuming resume is the document we are all probably going to have to write at some point in our lives. Comparing the different skill sets from a 1970’s resume to a resume created in 2017 will highlight how things have changed.

A typewriter has a fixed font, color options are limited not to mention the layout was confined to indentation and underlining.

In 2017 the resume creation options are almost limitless, a person is faced with a cornucopia of choices.

Should the resume be one or two columns, what typeface should I use? What is the appropriate spacing between each line? What font size should I choose, what words should be headings and should these words be bold? Should I add color, and will this add or detract from the information I am trying to present?

Does the layout of the resume give some indication on my technical competency or does it distract? How do I make my resume stand out, easy to read and get me to the next step in the hiring process?

While computers do make a number of things easier, the price that you pay is choice and acquiring the technical skills to take advantages of those choices.

Survival Skills Part 1

The intermediate digital learner needs these survival skills.

  1. Writing is foundational to communicating in the digital world. These are the essential documents you should know how to create:
    1. Cover letter
    2. Resume
    3. Agenda
    4. Minutes
    5. E-mail {Anyone can blast off an e-mail, spend a little time learning the difference between a twitter blast and a thoughtful piece of correspondence}

I have read hundreds of resumes and cover letters from highly educated and, I would assume, intelligent charming people. The one thing I am always able to count on, is that their writing will be unrelentingly atrocious. Their sentences brutishly cling to burned out clichés that are so bromidic that the words wilt on the page. Language is such a thing of beauty there is no need for the writer to feel compelled to homogenize their words into meaningless glop. My advice is to do your research about the organization, know their vision and mission. Write clearly and concisely in your own voice about how your skills are going to support and advance the goals of the organization.

Survival Skills Part 2
  1. Oral Skills, the ability to speak clearly, thoughtfully and concisely is an art. Why do I think this is a digital skill? Most often, you will be speaking with the assistance of some form of technology.
    1. Create a warm as well as professional greeting on voicemail.
    2. Present a PowerPoint presentation without reading off the slides.
    3. Troubleshoot the projector, microphone or some other computer 30 seconds before you make your presentation.  Be able to give the presentation if all the technology fails.
    4. Successfully manage a GoToMeeting session or me, an engaged participant. Ask the presenter the question they most want to answer.
Plan to Plan
  1. Plan to Plan, the Intermediate Digital Learner needs the ability to plan.
    1. Take a skills assessment test. Understand your strengths and weaknesses.
    2. Understand the job market. There is little point in gaining skills for jobs with no demand.
    3. Inventory the skills or qualifications needed for the job you are seeking. Do you qualify?
    4. Create your personal development plan.

The Plan to Plan is a cycle of renewal and growth. Continuously reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses while keeping up with current trends as well as changes in your field are not only important to developing your skills but also adding value in the workplace.

While the above skills may seem basic, I think they are foundational. Once mastered, the digital learner can continue to acquire more skills specifically related to their occupation.

For interest, I have included a report that shows the top 30 fastest growing jobs by 2020. The report comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.