Digital Literacy Development in Community Learning

Lynne Taylerson (mentor)

It was fascinating for me as a mentor to work with these three innovative project teams on such an important area as EDS. Testimonials from teachers and learners in their project reports are proof of the impact of their work. As a result of these projects learners and ACL colleagues are able to access online learning webinars with confidence using a range of digital tools, interrogate online information for accuracy and validity and manage their online identity and security.

An outstanding feature of all three projects is how they gathered and used such diverse and vibrant research evidence to aid their analysis and support their conclusions. This came in the form of learner video diaries, Google Jamboards, reflective journals from the teaching team and examples of learners’ work as it developed.

All three teams developed powerful insights on the unspoken barriers that prevented learners getting online and using digital networks and resources confidently. The project teams were able to open up insightful conversations which allowed them to unpack assumptions around learners’ digital access and use challenges.

Another aspect of this work that resonated as impactful were testimonials from learners on how their new digital skills were being used. They are putting learning into practice not just during immediate work and study; their new skills are bringing wider benefits in their family and social lives. They are now also able to engage in social digital spaces and guide family and friends in their safe and appropriate use.

Haringey Adult Learning Service explored the real impact misinformation is having on women who are disproportionately affected in COVID-19 times. A co-design element was at the heart of the project. Learners created video diaries and community messages explaining how the raised awareness of misinformation types and identifying signs of misinformation has positively impacted on their wellbeing.

Coventry Adult Education Service took a diverse approach to Coventry Council colleagues’ digital skills development. Individual tutors experimented with use of Google Jamboard, Forms and Sheets and the setting up and managing of Zoom webinars. The council staff learners used the resources and commented via video feedback that they had expanded their skills and gathered some very useful evidence for their Essential Digital Skills (EDS) portfolios.

Westminster Adult Education Service developed a session strategy and supporting resources for tutors working with learners who are accessing a Microsoft Teams webinar for the first time. The session and resources helped learners use cameras, microphones, chat features and emojis and have been trialled successfully with positive feedback from learners both over the phone and in learning resource centres.

Watch the group presentations (renamed ‘Cluster 16’) at the final dissemination event by clicking play (to the right).

Access their full reports below.