Paul Feldman, CEO of Jisc, recently published a piece evaluating the digital readiness for the workplace of today’s college students. The results are illuminating, to say the least.

…this year’s edition of Jisc’s student digital experience survey shows that only half of all further and higher education students believe that their courses prepare them well for the digital workplace.

College instruction is still weighted quite heavily towards learning content vs. building transferable skills – digital aptitude is just another example of the gaps that employers perceive when onboarding new hires coming immediately out of colleges and universities. Why is this the case? One finding relates to expectations and how those are managed in the confines of a course:

Between 40% and 50% of learners don’t know the sort of digital skills required before they start a course and, later on, fewer than half have been told the digital skills they need to improve.

It’s probably helpful to dimension the gap further at this point, and Feldman goes on to write:

The UK will need 745,000 additional workers with digital skills to meet rising demand from employers between 2013 and 2017, and almost 90% of new jobs require digital skills to some degree, with 72% of employers stating that they are unwilling to interview candidates who do not have basic digital skills.

With the overwhelming majority of jobs (nine in ten) requiring digital skills and nearly three fourths of employers unwilling to interview candidates lacking basic digital skills shouldn’t we be thinking about digital skills the same way we think about basic literacy, numeracy and communications skills? From the Junction perspective, we’ve been careful to design an intuitive user experience to make sure that online learners lacking digital fluency aren’t put off by complexity AND our student engagement system, Junction Beacon, directs students to develop digital skills while they are in the context of mastering and applying essential content. Everything from search to note-taking to messaging and synchronous online communication is encouraged by Junction with the intent of building digital skills while promoting peer interaction.

Digital literacy and fluency is a systemic issue that we can only solve through thoughtful design, active engagement, regular dialogue and peer support. For more, please click on the link below.

Universities are failing to equip enough students with digital skills | Wonkhe | Comment

Image: Shutterstock Young people are touted as a tech-savvy cohort who have grown up with the internet and smart devices. But still, higher and further education institutions could do more to equip them with the digital capabilities necessary for the workplace.