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Digital Literacy skills help adults access and navigate digital resources in both their personal and professional lives and can impact career and job trajectories. These include the basic skills needed to operate computers and other technology. Beyond these, navigation skills require an understanding of typical digital environments such as word processing software, email and social media, games, and search engines.
Approximately 16% (30 million) of U.S. adults lack basic Digital Literacy skills. These skill requirements can become more complex as digital demands increase for particular jobs, careers, and everyday tasks. Higher-level Digital Literacy skills include digital creation, data representation, online communication, and source evaluation.
Digital Literacy is a broad term which includes several component skills:
A key contributor to developing Digital Literacy skills is adults' experience and Background Knowledge with digital texts and programs. Accordingly, learners from lower socioeconomic households, who may have difficulty accessing digital media through the Internet, may have weaker Digital Literacy skills.
When annotating, learners engage deeply with a text and make their thinking visible while reading, which supports Foundational Reading Skills.
Experts can answer questions and provide vocabulary, processes, feedback, and scaffolds to help learners deepen their understanding.
When adults can connect and communicate with authentic audiences about their interests and values, learning becomes more personally meaningful and relevant.
Developing empathy in educators and in learners is an iterative process that requires taking the time to understand and honor others' perspectives.
Adult learners can self-organize into groups called communities of practice to engage in longer-term examination of a topic to build deeper understanding.
Competency-based learning is self-paced, focused on mastery, and centered around demonstrating learning outcomes and skills rather than where or how they were attained.
When learners process and express information visually, they are activating more cognitive processes while Problem Solving.
Discussions about race can range from celebrating the importance of diversity to understanding the impact of racism from the perspective of those who have been historically marginalized.
Teaching adult learners how to systematically evaluate sources prepares them to navigate information in an increasingly complex, digital world.
Networking and supporting adult learners in expanding their social networks provide access to additional resources and Social Supports, which can impact their trajectory and Motivation.
Experiential learning is learning by doing, which may include self-directed learning activities.
In an increasingly digital world, adults who struggle with using technology can benefit from direct instruction for an array of digital tools.
Teaching learners how to effectively search the internet is critical for helping them learn how to find accurate and relevant information and aids in developing information literacy.
Research shows that, along with traditional reading comprehension strategies, learners use unique strategies to read the non-linear, hyperlinked structure of online texts.
Formative assessment is "assessment for learning" rather than "assessment of learning".
When adults are aware that learning involves effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement of strategies, they are more resilient when they struggle.
Game-based learning is an active learning experience with clear objectives and measurable outcomes designed to be intrinsically game-like.
Setting overall goals with actionable steps for achievement can help learners feel more confident in their abilities and help minimize procrastination-related behaviors.
Opportunities for students to practice skills in context, with instructor support and also independently, helps to move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
Immediate feedback can improve a learner's confidence, self-awareness and enthusiasm for learning, which leads to increased Motivation.
Giving learners the opportunity to share their knowledge, skills, and understanding with others strengthens learning and increases Motivation while also building Social Supports.
Metaphors and analogies can support learners by helping to form connections and to notice patterns and similarities that promote learning, self-concept, and higher order thinking.