When we talk about the challenges we face with Adult Learners, there are several area’s that we can focus on. I’ve summed these up as Digital blefs. This post will look at the issue, Digital Literacy.
‘Digital Literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.’
When an adult learner first starts their studies, they are faced with a mountain of new information and possibly new technologies. This can be incredibly overwhelming and also demotivating. Digital literacy involves more than the ability to use software or operate a digital device; it includes a large variety of complex cognitive, motor, sociological and emotional skills, which users need in order to function effectively in digital environments. (http://technologysource.org/article/online_drop_rates_revisited/).
Questions you mist consider when designing eLearning courses for adult learners may include: Can an adult learner conduct an Internet search? Can they use different search engines and change the search term to refine their search? Does the user understand what they know about technology?
These are assumptions that educators make, however they are not always the case. This may also cover different types of technology. If a learner is competent on a Windows desktop PC, we can’t assume they know how to operate a tablet.
Does the user understand the ‘jargon’? an example would be ‘I have 500Gig of memory’ – when it is 500Gig Hard drive of storage or advising someone to ‘Google Office 365’. To you and I it may be obvious that you have to use the search engine Google to find information on Office 365, but to others, they may think that Google Office 365 is an actual product.
Have you ever seen anyone try to push an icon through a touch device? A lot like you are trying to change the channel on your TV remote and the batteries are going flat, so you just push harder on the buttons to get it to work!