Digital Fluency is the knowledge and skills that every person needs. But what kind of knowledge and skills are we talking about? This question, in the era of digitalization, is important for almost every person.

Today we are all in one way or another surrounded by a huge number of gadgets and Internet services, which are designed to simplify our life and make it more efficient. Just think, what a huge part of our life is spent online or using any digital devices (at work, at home, in transport and other public places). But are you sure that you know exactly how to behave on the Internet or when using digital technologies? How to solve your problems using services quickly and efficiently? How can you protect yourself, your data, and your digital devices? How to recognize online fraud? The answers to these and many other questions are at the core of digital fluency.

What Do We Mean By Digital Fluency?

Very often, when speaking of digital fluency, people equate it with computer science, computer literacy, or even programming and other specialized knowledge and skills that IT professionals have. But they are wrong. Of course, digital fluency includes knowledge from the field of computer science, computer, and media literacy, but to equate it with only these concepts is fundamentally wrong.

Digital fluency is a basic set of knowledge and skills that are necessary for every person (not only an IT specialist) in order to safely and effectively use digital technologies and Internet resources for solving their problems. 

Here, for example, we are talking about working on a computer (creating presentations, text documents and spreadsheets); using online education services; online appointments with a doctor; communication in social networks; about making purchases in online stores. And this is just a small fraction of the tasks that involve digital fluency.

Let’s talk about the structure of digital fluency in more detail. What does it consist of?

Every person’s digital fluency is built on three key dimensions:

  • Digital consumption
  • Digital competencies
  • Digital security

What is Digital Consumption?

In a broad sense, this is the use of various digital resources, as well as the availability of basic knowledge and skills of computer literacy. It is important to understand that consumption is not limited to online shopping and online financial transactions. Digital consumption occurs at the moment when you want to solve some of your problems and use technologies for this. What can be attributed to digital consumption? For example, using search engines to search for information, using social networks to run communities and organize events, using cloud services for storing photos, downloading mobile applications, using mobile subscriptions, and more.

What Competencies Are Considered Digital?

Here we are talking not just about use, but about skills and abilities to select and apply technology in different areas of life confidently and effectively.  Like with digital consumption, if we have a problem, we ask ourselves the question: what service or technology should we use to solve it? When we talk about digital competencies, we ask ourselves the question: how should we use this service or technology to solve our problem effectively?

Digital competencies, for example, can include skills in using search engines, social networks and instant messengers, digital mail services, mapping and navigation services, a public service portal, skills in online financial transactions and online shopping (including online stores, product aggregators, etc. services, message boards and mobile applications), skills in content creation and distribution, as well as the critical perception of information received on the Internet.

What Do We Mean About Digital Security?

A combination of all those tools, precautions, and habits that users need to ensure their safety in the digital world. If we formulate the question like the two previous aspects, here it will sound as follows: how do we solve our problems using digital technology not only efficiently, but also safely?

Digital security skills include the ability to protect personal data, the skills to recognize phishing sites and messages, the ability to protect accounts in social networks and instant messengers, and skills to counter cyberbullying, etc.

Why is it Important to Pay Attention to Your Digital Fluency?

Digital technologies and services have not only become an integral part of our life, but they are also very dynamic, especially in the formation and development of a digital economy. 

The digital world is constantly changing and expanding, and at the same time, it forces us to change too. Thus, it’s necessary to constantly improve your digital literacy in order to remain in demand at work. Here we are not even talking about a possible replacement by AI, but about remaining a competent specialist who is ready to think flexibly and quickly learn new necessary skills. For example, new digital tools are being created every day that can help us accomplish simple and time-consuming tasks with more efficiency. Through implementing these tools, we can free up time to spend on more important tasks.

The main problem that arises for a person who wants to develop his digital competencies is not understanding what it is and where to learn it because this is not taught in schools and universities (except for a few). Therefore, the main tool for teaching now is online and offline courses on certain aspects of digital fluency. Therefore, we urge you not only to improve your digital fluency, but also to share this knowledge with your colleagues, friends and loved ones (children, parents, grandparents) so that they, just like you, are not only unafraid to use digital technologies, but so they also do it as efficiently and safely as possible.

Tips For Developing Digital Fluency

Whether you are completing an online course, remote internship, or simply applying for jobs – digital fluency will enhance both your skills and overall success. In many ways, 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic marked the beginning of a remote work from home movement that is showing no signs of slowing down. We want to share some of the best tips we have that will help you develop a digital fluency necessary for success in the “new normal” as well as beyond into the future. 

Familiarize yourself with common digital tools
  • Messaging apps like Slack, Skype, Discord, and Microsoft Teams help teams stay connected while working remotely
  • Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet are commonly used for meetings and training sessions
  • Learn how to use Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Excel at the bare minimum
Practice your digital communication skills
  • Once you are familiar with the tools available to you, begin practicing with those tools in order to learn their best uses
  • Create and share original content online through social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook
Learn a new skill online
  • There is an abundance of digital skills that can help you in your future career, whether that be in web design, programming, IT, CRM, or something more specific to your unique career path. Look at some internship or job descriptions that you’re interested in to learn what other skills are in demand in your field
  • The great news is that there are a variety of free and low-cost online resources available to help you learn new digital skills. For example Udemy, YouTube, Lynda, edX, Grow With Google, and more!
  • Pagoda Projects also offers four pay what you can online skills courses here! Check out our Digital Competency course for more specific information on how to develop the digital skills that are now necessary in the modern world
Never stop learning
  • The truth is, technology will always be changing and improving throughout your lifetime. The best way to stay digitally competent and fluent is to remain a lifelong learner

Sources & Additional Resources

  1. 6 Practical Tips For Improving Your Team’s Skills
  2. Digital Literacy in Practice
  3. Articles on Digital Literacy
  4. The Uses of Digital Literacy
  5. Digital Literacy Practice Test (Quiz)
  6. Digital Literacy Multiple Choice Test (Quiz)
  7. Digital Literacy (Quiz)