What is the definition of adult digital literacy?

Since my presentation at #bitnorth (embedded below), the notion of digital literacy – in particular for adults – has really stuck with me. If we give people access to broadband, and they learn how to effectively use the new digital tools, how can we be sure they become digitally literate? And what does that term “digitally literate” actually mean?

I’ve done a bit of googling, and found plenty of information about digital literacy for kids. Which when you think about it is weird, aren’t digital natives supposed to just **know** how to do all things digital? ;)

Here is some of what I’ve found:

My interest now is on finding any existing digital literacy standards for adults. Right now, I spend a lot of time in my job mentoring folks in how to effectively use digital media. So far at least three people I’ve worked with have moved into roles where working with digital media is one (if not the) main function of their job. Which makes me happy, because I am a teacher to my core.

Right now I’m mentoring several senior managers, which when I think about it is weird. They are much more experienced, and have much more insight to the business than I. But they are nervous about participating online. They have the skillset to do what needs to be done to take care of our learners, to move our business. But they are feeling nervous about translating that into action online. So I hold their hands till they are ready. Which is much sooner than they feel comfortable with – its like teaching a kid to ride a bike. You let go when they aren’t looking. :)

The one-on-one mentoring is very effective, but it is also very time-consuming. It won’t scale. It seems to me that there needs to be a gap analysis done between what a highly literate person can do, and what they need to learn to how do in order to become a highly digitally literate individual. So I’m looking for those adult digital literacy standards, so I can do a bit of analysis and write some instruction. This sounds almost like ADDIE…. >:)

If you know of anyone who has worked on adult digital literacy standards, please let me know! And here is my presentation, slides 10 & 11, plus the appendix are most relevant to this post.

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